Semenya to return after gender controversy

World champion runner Caster Semenya, on a layoff while undergoing gender verification tests, has been cleared to return to competitive track and field.

Could return to compete at world juniors in Moncton, N.B., July 19

Caster Semenya was cleared to return to competitive athletics by the IAAF on Tuesday, ending an 11-month layoff while she underwent gender verification tests after becoming the 800-metre world champion.

"The process initiated in 2009 in the case of Caster Semenya has now been completed," Athletics' world governing body said in a statement. "The IAAF accepts the conclusion of a panel of medical experts that she can compete with immediate effect."

Semenya released a statement saying she was happy to be able to race again. She could return to competition at the world junior championships in Moncton, N.B., starting July 19.

"I am thrilled to enter the global athletics arena once again and look forward to competing with all the disputes behind me." Semenya said.

Semenya had earlier spoken to The Associated Press by phone soon after the IAAF's decision was released.

"I don't feel anything," Semenya said.

The IAAF said the medical details of the 19-year-old South African's case would remain confidential and it will make no further comment on the matter.

Semenya's lawyers said in a statement that the negotiations with the IAAF had been lengthy and held all over the world.

"Our direct negotiations with the IAAF representatives, through the mediator, have been ongoing for 10 months," said Greg Nott, managing partner of Dewey and LeBoeuf's Johannesburg office.

"Meetings have been held in Monaco, Istanbul and Paris, but due to the nature of the matter the parties resolved to keep the negotiations confidential."

Controversy after dominant win

Semenya underwent gender tests following her dominant win as an 18-year-old at the Berlin world championships in August.

It is still unclear if the runner has undergone any medical procedure or treatment during her lengthy layoff that allows her to keep running as a woman, or what the conditions of the settlement are.

"We are delighted that Caster is finally being permitted to compete with other women, as is her legal and natural right," said Jeffrey Kessler, Dewey and LeBoeuf's Global Litigation Chairman.

"Hopefully, this resolution will set a precedent so that no female athlete in the future will have to experience the long delays and public scrutiny which Caster has been forced to endure."

Earlier, Semenya's father said his daughter had told him on Tuesday morning she was going to be cleared to return to athletics.

Jacob Semenya said she was happy and was waiting for the formal announcement allowing her to return to competition following the controversial gender tests last year.

"She told me she doesn't have any problems and she is happy," Jacob said.

Gold in 1st major race

The announcement has brought the saga to an end after the teenage athlete burst onto the world scene in Berlin, where she dominated 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 she 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 cancelled a news conference in which it was expected to announce Semenya's return to athletics.

Semenya's lawyers said they had been told the conference, which was to be hosted by South African Minister of Sport Makhenkesi Stofile, had been called off because the IAAF's executive committee had not received a "formal briefing" on Semenya's case by medical officials.