Caster eager to race again

2010-07-07 00:00

ATHLETE Caster Semenya has been cleared to compete again as a woman.

The International Association of Athletic Federations issued a five-line press release confirming this yesterday.

“The process initiated in 2009 in the case of Caster Semenya (RSA) has now been completed. The IAAF accepts the conclusion of a panel of medical experts that she can compete with immediate effect.”

The statement goes on to note that the medical details of the case remain confidential and there will be no further comment made.

In a statement through her lawyers, Semenya expressed her eagerness to get back to competition. “I am thrilled to enter the global athletics arena once again and look forward to competing with all the disputes behind me.”

Semenya has not run since winning the 800 metres world championship in Berlin last August. Test results leaked afterwards suggested that she is a hermaphrodite.

Greg Nott, managing partner of her lawyers, Dewey & Le­Boeuf, said her return to competition is the result of a “landmark settlement” with the IAAF. “Our direct negotiations with the IAAF representatives, through the mediator, have been ongoing for 10 months,” said Nott.

Athletics South Africa said it is in contact with her coach to find out if Semenya can be included in the country’s squad competing in the IAAF world junior championships in Canada later this month.

“ASA [is] in close communication with her coach, Michael Seme, which will see the athlete undergoing fitness evaluation within the next 24 hours, to determine whether she is consi­dered as an addition to the current 22-member South African team that will compete at the IAAF World Junior Championships … ” ASA said in a statement.

Semenya endured 11 months of public interrogation and speculation after her gender was questioned.

The minimal information relesased by the IAAF has sustained speculation that Semenya may have received treatment over the past months, monitored to the point that she is no longer believed to have an unfair advantage over competitors. Such a process would justify the extended length of the case, which was initially due to be addressed in November, but was postponed several times.

The false starts to media conferences and delays over the past week have done nothing to stem suggestions that the details of the intense lawyer negotiations, unlikely to come to light, will have included some compensation for Semenya.


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