Why? Because, for instance, whether Semenya will be allowed to keep competing as a woman, and whether she can — or would be able to do so — remains entirely unclear. The ministry statement, for instance, does not say.

An Australian newspaper, citing an unnamed source, reported in September that Semenya had both male and female sexual characteristics.

Athletics South Africa said last month it had suspended its president, Leonard Chuene, and the rest of his board; Chuene in September had issued an apology for denying that he had known about gender-verification tests done on Semenya before the Berlin worlds.

The ministry statement said it had asked track’s governing body, the IAAF, for an apology. The IAAF is “adamant,” the ministry said, that “the public discourse” about Semenya “did not originate with them.”

The Associated Press reported that the IAAF had accepted Chuene’s resignation from the IAAF’s policy-making council and had opened a formal inquiry into the way he and Athletics South Africa handled the Semenya matter.

In a blog published Thursday, Jill Geer, USA Track & Field’s thoughtful spokeswoman, wrote of the matter, “How the story was leaked and how it has played out has done nothing but tarnish the reputations of everyone involved. Regardless of what went on behind the scenes, who knew what and when, who did what examination or who leaked what to whom, this has played out like a Greek tragedy of Sophoclean proportions. The victims include, in no particular order, Semenya, her competitors and anyone in society who is, to use a term often employed in gender studies, ‘other.'”

Geer also notes, “Also working against [Semenya] was the fact that she is coached by a man who [according to accounts published in Britain] ‘was named as a key figure in the East German doping machine in a German parliamentary inquiry (and who) has admitted his involvement in the drug programme…’ Indeed, the East German connection and her subsequent, incredible improvement in performance is why the IAAF first raised eyebrows about her performances in 2009, not because of how she looked.”

Permit me at this point to repeat what I wrote from Berlin in August: “… Caster Semenya is 18 years old. Imagine if you had an 18-year-old and this was your child.”

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