JOHANNESBURG -- South Africa's top track official is returning to the board of international athletics governing body to fight for Caster Semenya, the runner whose gender has been questioned.
Athletics South Africa announced on Sunday that its president, Leonard Chuene, was rejoining the board of the International Association of Athletics Federations. Chuene has accused the IAAF of humiliating the women's 800-meter world champion and violating its privacy rules in its handling of her case.
The decision indicates an easing in strained relations between ASA and the IAAF. The IAAF would have to work through Chuene's group to contact the 18-year-old about the results of her tests.
The IAAF ordered sex tests on the runner, saying questions had been raised about her muscular physique, running style and recent stunning improvement in times. It has refused to confirm or deny Australian media reports last week that Semenya has both male and female characteristics, saying it is reviewing test results and will issue a decision in November on whether Semenya will be allowed to continue to compete in women's events.
Semenya won the 800 at the world championships in Berlin in 1 minute, 55.45 seconds to finish 2.45 seconds ahead of her closest competitor on Aug. 19. It was the best 800 time in the world this year.
Chuene left the IAAF board shortly after it announced in August it had ordered sex tests on Semenya. In an interview Sunday, Chuene told The Associated Press: "I took the decision as an individual, emotionally."
He said that during an Athletics South Africa meeting Saturday in Pretoria other officials said he had a duty to represent both South Africa and Africa on the IAAF board.
"They still want to see me contributing," he said. "I can make a contribution inside."
In a statement Sunday, the ASA said it had instructed Chuene "to withdraw his resignation from the Council of the IAAF and resume his responsibilities as mandated by Athletics South Africa ... and the Confederation of African Athletics."
ASA also commended Chuene, saying he has handled the Semenya "matter exceptionally well." In contrast, it accused the IAAF of failing "to observe the confidentiality required to handle the matter of this sensitivity" and called on the international body to apologize to Semenya, "her family and the people of South Africa."
ASA appointed a scientific and legal panel to work with the IAAF on the Semenya case.
Chuene said Semenya, a university student in Pretoria, had been receiving counseling, and was also supported by friends and family. He said she has been composed as the storm has grown in recent days.
"From where we are sitting, she appears strong," he said.