Two Namibian track and field stars Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi have been banned from competing in the Women’s 400m race at the Tokyo Games, Japan.
The 18 year-old athletes were banned on grounds that their natural testosterone levels were too high.
The Namibia National Olympic Committee and Commonwealth Games Association confirmed the news in a press release on this week. The athletes have been training for the Tokyo Games in Italy where the assessment was done in accordance to World Athletic regulations.
It is procedural for World Athletics to request medical assessments on international athletes on a regular basis.World Athletics has, according to its procedures stipulated in their Rules pertaining to”Athletes with Differences of Sex Development ” required the two athletes amongst other international athletes, to undergo medical assessments.
According to the official statement, both athletes were not aware of the condition and neither were their family members or coach.
Mboma and Masilingi are facing the same challenge experienced by South African athlete Caster Semenya in 2018. Semenya was banned for the same reason after the World Athletics ruled that ,”to ensure fair competition women with high natural testosterone levels must take medication to reduce them to compete in middle distance races.”
Masilingi is arguing that taking medication will ruin the way her body develops because medication will rearrange everything including body functionality.
The middle-distance races not eligible to participate in events from 400mto1600m.
Restricted Events are 400m races, 400m hurdles races, 800m races, 1500m races,one mile races, and all other track events over distances between 400m and one mile (inclusive), whether run alone or as part of a relay event or a combined event.
It has to be noted, however, that the two are still eligible to compete in the 100m and 200m events which fall outside the ‘restricted event’ tag.
Talks are underway as parties seek way forward.