Caster Semenya plans return to track

Caster Semenya plans return to track

Caster Semenya says she will return to competitive racing this season, releasing a statement on the same day that she was denied a chance to run at a meet in South Africa because the IAAF has yet to release its findings from her gender verification tests.

The 19-year-old Semenya, who has not raced or spoken publicly since she won the women’s 800-metre race at the world championships in Berlin in August, said overnight (NZ time) that she has not done anything wrong and should be allowed to race.

“I hereby publicly announce my return to athletics competitions,” Semenya said.

The IAAF is still reviewing the test results to determine the South African runner’s eligibility. The organisation has refused to confirm or deny Australian media reports that the tests indicate Semenya has both male and female sex organs.

Although there is no ban or suspension preventing Semenya from competing, it is thought that she had agreed not to race until the IAAF releases its findings.

“I am of the firm view that there is no impediment to me competing in athletics competitions,” Semenya said. “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.”

Earlier yesterday, Semenya was denied a spot to race at a meet in Stellenbosch, near Cape Town, despite pleas from her coach and lawyer to let her compete.

Although she was in Stellenbosch, she refused to talk about her situation.

“Why would I want to talk to media,” Semenya said. “I don’t want to talk to you.”

In the statement, Semenya said that her legal advisers had tried to contact the International Associations of Athletics Federations three times but didn’t get any response about when she can return to competition.

“The result is that my athletic capabilities and earning potential are being severely compromised,” Semenya said.

It was unclear when Semenya would make her return.

“My coach, agent and I will work closely together to identify and prepare for a limited number of athletics meetings over the course of the coming athletics season,” Semenya said.
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Richard Stander, the chief executive of the local Boland Athletics association and meet organizer, told the AP that Semenya had not been invited to Tuesday’s meet.

“The IAAF have got her under advisement from her medical team and until such a time as the IAAF tells us otherwise … we cannot invite her,” Stander told the AP. “Her coach spoke to me. And a member of her legal team. They are requesting for their athlete to participate and I said to them exactly what I am saying to you. There are rules that we need to apply.”

Semenya said she has done nothing wrong.

“I have been subjected to unwarranted and invasive scrutiny of the most intimate and private details of my being,” Semenya said. “I had committed no wrongdoing, I begrudgingly committed to assist the IAAF in concluding its processes which I did not agree with.”