Semenya Caster Plans Competitive Comeback
“I hereby publicly announce my return to athletics competitions“
Semenya Caster’s lawyers previously indicated that test results obtained in February will confirm that she’s cleared for competition, but there’s something delaying her return to competition. That something is the International Association of Athletics Federation who has not yet ruled on whether Semenya can compete as a woman. Semenya, however, is optimistic and expects to be cleared for competition in or around June 2010. By then, she plans to make her long awaited return to competition in Spain on June 24th.
Semenya also asked her lawyers to seek confirmation from the IAAF that her position would be clarified in early June. This is a smart move because she wants to be assured that her return to competition will coincide with the IAAF’s decision in her extremely sensitive case. She has been banned from competing until they release the results of her gender test.
The 19 year old 800m world champion dominated in the event in Berlin last August. She was virtually unknown at the time except to her South African coaches and teammates, but her dominance over the other competitors put her at odds when her physical characteristics were criticized. Her unusually muscular physique and deep voice raised questions about her gender, which she and family members have continually expressed with absolute insistance that she is all woman.
Initial test results were supposedly leaked and determined that Semenya was in fact a hermaphrodite with three times the normal testosterone levels for a woman, which incited outrage in South Africa as the government and people rallied behind her. The findings have not been retracted, nor have they been confirmed by the IAAF or anyone close to Semenya’s circle.
With legal action looming if they don’t make a decision soon, the IAAF is riding a very fine line. In a September 2009 statement, the IAAF said it was reviewing the test results and would issue a final decision in November. That time has passed and Caster and her lawyers are growing impatient. So should the IAAF, especially in light of recent financial troubles and reports of an impending bankruptcy which have since been disputed.
Semenya’s lawyers say they will continue to put pressure on the IAAF until a final outcome is reached. They appreciate Semenya’s desire to get back to doing what she does best; being an athlete.
I am of the firm view that there is no impediment to me competing in athletics competitions,” she said in the statement. “I will, however, continue to assist the IAAF with whatsoever they may require for their own processes and in this regard I have instructed my legal and medical team to work closely with, and continue negotiation with them for these purposes.
I view her as a woman.
Regardless of her reproductive organs, Semenya Caster is a woman because that’s how she sees herself. I believe it is quite possible that Semenya never really knew of the uniqueness of her physical anatomy, inside and out. It’s disappointing that everyone, including myself, knows her on such an intimate level when we’d be horrified if we were to find ourselves in her position. An athlete in the international spotlight will feel all sorts of pressure whether they win or lose, but although Semenya is a winner, her situation appears to be a losing one. Despite everything, the world awaits with prolonged impatience to hear the outcome. The biggest loser has been Semenya who deserves nothing more than to go on living her life and doing what she loves best in some great capacity.