South African sprinter Caster Semenya has been cleared to return to competition by the International Association of Athletics Federations. Semenya clinched victory in the women’s 800m at last year’s World Championships by a wide margin, sparking speculation surrounding her gender.
But after being unable to compete for 11 months after a leaked report suggested she may have both male and female characteristics, the 19-year-old has been given the green light to resume her career. She could opt to return in the World Junior Championships in Canada later this month, while October’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi is also likely to be high on her list of targets.
An IAAF statement read: “The IAAF accepts the conclusion of a panel of medical experts that she can compete with immediate effect. Please note that the medical details of the case remain confidential and the IAAF will make no further comment on the matter.”
South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) Youth League welcomed the decision saying it brings to an end, ‘the wild speculations that were pushed and celebrated by those opposed to the progress and success of South Africa’s historically disadvantaged individuals.’
‘The ANC Youth League is proud that our call for Caster Semenya to continue running as an excellent female athlete in all national and international platforms has been heeded by the IAAF. The ANC Youth League mobilised all youth formations and progressive voices across the world to condemn and denounce the exclusion of Caster Semenya from international athletics and our strong voices were heard.’
The ANC Youth League said it had provided all the necessary support to Semenya during the time, ‘mobilised resources for her, built her a house and ensured that her wellbeing and focus is not undermined by efforts to undermine her excellence in sports.
The league also said the clearing of Semenya also ‘vindicates former Athletics South Africa (ASA) President Leonard Chuene who did everything to protect the sports career of Caster Semenya. Leonard Chuene made mistakes in efforts to protect Caster Semenya, yet the clearing of Caster Semenya vindicates him. The ANC Youth League will in this regard be engaging with all relevant stakeholders, including SASCOC to retain the services of Leonard Chuene who is a true champion of sports development in the country.’