By Lesego Motshegwa
and Gerald Imray
Caster Semenya’s father said she told him she is going to be cleared to return to athletics.
Jacob Semenya told The Associated Press that he had spoken to the 19-year-old runner on Tuesday morning and she was happy and was waiting for a formal announcement allowing her to return to competition following her controversial gender tests last year.
“She told me she doesn’t have any problems, and she is happy,” Jacob said.
The International Association of Athletics Federations and Semenya’s advisers were expected to announce the 800-meter world champion’s return on Tuesday, although neither side made any formal comment regarding a decision. It is still unclear if the runner has undergone any medical procedure or treatment during her layoff that allows her to keep running as a woman.
Jacob said his daughter, who has not competed since she underwent the tests after her victory at the world championships last August, was waiting to hear if she would be appearing on television in South Africa to make the announcement.
“She is waiting to hear from her people,” he said.
The expected announcement will bring to an end an 11-month saga involving the teenage athlete, who burst onto the world scene in Berlin where she dominated the 800 final as an 18-year-old to win gold in her first major event.
However, her dramatic improvement in times and muscular build led the IAAF to order the gender verification tests.
Semenya was welcomed as a national hero in South Africa following her stunning victory but reports of the gender tests and stories in the Australian media saying Semenya had both male and female sex organs caused outrage in her home country and led some public officials to rally behind her.
Last month, South Africa’s sports ministry abruptly canceled a news conference where it was expected to announce Semenya’s return to athletics.
Semenya’s lawyers said they had been told the briefing, which was to be hosted by South Africa’s Minister of Sport Makhenkesi Stofile, had been called off because the executive committee of the IAAF had not received a “formal briefing” on Semenya’s case by medical officials.
Semenya could return to competition at the world junior championships in Moncton, New Brunswick, starting on July 19. However, her coach Michael Seme has said she was not race fit.