"...neither the international track and field federation nor Semenya’s representatives will say how her perplexing gender identity issue was resolved, citing confidential medical details..."
This much, finally, is clear. South African runner Caster Semenya is eligible to compete as a woman and she’ll be back on the track next week. But neither the international track and field federation nor Semenya’s representatives will say how her perplexing gender identity issue was resolved, citing confidential medical details. Was more sophisticated testing done? Or did the 19-year-old, who has a male build and voice, have treatments that tipped the balance toward female?
Semenya became an instant figure of controversy and curiosity when she turned up out of nowhere at last summer’s global outdoor championships in Berlin and won the 800 meters by more than two seconds in a race that usually is decided by fractions. When the IAAF this week cleared her to compete again without giving specifics, speculation swirled anew. According to a Sydney newspaper, a medical report prepared for the IAAF last year said that Semenya has external female genitalia but internal male testes.
“I think we’ll never know what the situation was in Berlin,’’ British runner Jenny Meadows, who finished third in that race, told the Associated Press. “That’s gone. We’ll never know what happened in that 11 months. The medical team say that the place she’s at now, she’s a female. If they say she’s a female, I’m happy to compete against her.’’
Since Semenya isn’t yet in top shape, she’ll bypass the upcoming world junior championships in New Brunswick, but will enter a couple of European meets, starting with the Lappeenranta Games in Finland, to tune up for the African championships in Kenya at the end of the month and may also compete in this autumn’s Commonwealth Games in India.
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