South African sprinter Caster Semenya might have won the 800m in 1min 55.45sec but all eyes are now on whether she is indeed a woman.

Since she arrived at the Berlin Athletics contest there were rumours that her apparent facial hair and rather masculine appearance might actually be because she is a man.

Indeed the rumours have become so intense that the International Association of Athletics Federations have asked Athletics South Africa (ASA) to carry out a “gender verification” test on her.

IAAF spokesman Nick Davies said: “this type of thing will take months to complete, there are a battery of tests to do. It’s very complicated, you need a panel of scientists to debate the result of the test. It’s a serious issue.

He added “It’s someone’s life, she was born and grew up a woman and so if you’re going to now say you’re not a woman, you’re a man, you have to be sure of what you’re doing.”

IAAF General secretary Pierre Weiss said: “At the moment there is no proof. The benefit of the doubt has to be with the athlete.

“But if at the end it is proven [she’s not a woman] then the medal will be withdrawn.”

However, the South African Athletics Federation say they’re “completely sure” that Semenya is a woman. “We would not have entered her in the female competition if we had any doubts,” they said in a statement.

A group of doctors including an endocrinologist, a gynaecologist, an internal medicine expert, as well as gender experts will begin a testing procedure. The IAFF admit that if the athlete was always told she was a woman but is not then she would not necessarily have cheated.