*South African track star Caster Semenya was cleared for competition Tuesday by the International Association of Athletics Federations after being sidelined for nearly a year as debate raged over her gender.
The athlete set a world record en route to winning the 800-meters in last August’s world championships, but her deep voice, coupled with a dramatic improvement in speed and muscle, stirred speculation about her gender. She has not run competitively since.
“I am thrilled to enter the global athletics arena once again and look forward to competing with all the disputes behind me,” the 19-year-old said in a statement released by her lawyers.
Published reports suggested she was a hermaphrodite, with both male and female sexual organs. The increased testosterone from the male organs could provide a competitive advantage.
The IAAF, after hearing from a panel of medical experts, cleared Semenya to immediately resume competition as a woman.
In a statement announcing the decision, the IAAF added that medical details of her case will be kept confidential and the sports organization will not comment further on the controversy.