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Caster to be cleared — reports
- Updated: July 6, 2010
British media reports say that world 800-metre champion Caster Semenya is soon set to be cleared to run against women, ending her 11-month exile from competitive racing since she was ordered to undergo a gender verification test.
Semenya has not competed since winning the global title in Berlin last August, shortly after it was leaked that the International Association of Athletics Federations had ordered gender tests on the South African record holder.
The Telegraph reported Tuesday that The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the authorities in South Africa are expected to announce within a few days that the athlete is free to return to the track, ending one of the biggest controversies ever to engulf the sport.
Semenya, 19, who has not raced since her runaway victory at the World Championships in Berlin last August, could be competing again as early as the World Junior Championships in Moncton, Canada, from July 19-25.
Her coach, Michael Seme, has admitted that she has not been training at 100 percent due to the uncertainty over her future while it is also believed that she has been undergoing medical treatment for an inter-sex condition.
There were unconfirmed media reports last year that her gender test had revealed both male and female characteristics. The treatment for such a condition would involve surgery or, more likely, hormones, and would explain why it has taken so long to resolve her case. Either way, the treatment could have a major impact on her physical capability in the future.
It had been widely assumed that Semenya had been waiting in limbo for 11 months for the results of gender verification tests carried out on her following her victory in Berlin. However, it is understood that the teenager and her legal team have been closely involved in the process throughout and appointed their own experts to an independent panel of scientists and doctors which has been monitoring her progress.
The fact that Semenya will now be free to compete in women’s races suggests the treatment is complete to the satisfaction of the medical experts, though it is likely that she will have to be monitored on an ongoing basis while she competes at elite level to ensure that she has no advantage over her rivals.
Last month sports minister Makhenkesi Stofile called a press conference with Semenya on the eve of the Soccer World Cup and it was expected to shed some light on her eligibility, but was cancelled at the last minute. Her lawyers later said they needed to present a medical team’s findings to the IAAF before making the announcement.