The trial and tribulations of South Africa’s Caster Semenya came to an end on Tuesday afternoon when the International Association of Athletic Federations released a five line press release followed by her biography.

“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.

Semenya has endured eleven months of public interrogation and speculation as a result of gender testing initiated by the IAAF following Semenya’s domination of the African Junior Championships in Mauritius a year ago this month.

Having left all in her wake in Mauritius the Pretoria based athlete went to the world senior championships in August where she scorched two laps of Berlin’s blue Olympic stadium track in one minute 55.45 seconds to secure the gold medal.

The combination of muscle flexing post race celebrations, IAAF admission of gender testing and information leaked through the Australian media saw Semenya become the media headline of the championships.

Additional unconfirmed leaks suggested that the 19 year old had dual genitalia, a condition that some medical professionals believe, irrespective of her athletic career, would require surgical or hormonal treatment in the interests of her health.

The minimal information of the IAAF has sustained speculation that Semenya may have received treatment over the past months which has been monitored to the point that she is no longer believed to have an unfair advantage over competitors freeing her to return to competition. Such a process would justify the extended length of the case which was initially due to be addressed in November and subsequently postponed on numerous occasions.

The false starts to media conferences and daily delays over the past week have done nothing to stem suggestions that the details of the intense lawyer negotiations, which are unlikely to come to light, will have included some compensation for the treatment the athlete has suffered during her exile.  

Semenya’s first opportunity to make her mark on the world stage could be only days away. Athletics South Africa (ASA) last night stated that she would undergo a fitness test within the next 24 hours after which the selection committee, which includes her coach, Michael Seme, will decide whether or not to recommend that ASA board request the IAAF for an extension for the team submission on the grounds of exceptional circumstances.  The names of other team members were submitted to the Championship organization earlier this week.  Semenya could have been included at that time had the IAAF stuck to their last announcement date of 30 June.

The 800m World Champion is also now open for selection to the African Championships in Nairobi at the end of July and the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in October.  The ASA seletion criteria requires her to run faster than 2 minutes 4.50 seconds to make the team to the African Championships.

Tubby Reddy the General Manager of South African Sports Council and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) welcomed the news, “we are delighted that this saga has come to an end and that Caster is able to put her athletic career back on track. There is nothing now stopping her from recording the necessary performances to be considered for the Commonwealth Team”

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