NNOC to announce plans soon

NNOC president Abner Xoagub says they will discuss the way forward after the athletics season ends regarding the action they will take with Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi’s fight to be reintroduced in the 400 m.

15 September 2021 | Sports

LIMBA MUPETAMI

WINDHOEK

There is no clear plan in sight currently to fight Namibian teenage sprint stars Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi’s scenario after World Athletics (WA) declared them ineligible for the 400 m event.

The two athletes began to make headlines this year for their exceptional 400 m sprint exploits. But in July, it was confirmed that the athletes had been banned from the 400 m at the Tokyo Olympic Games because of high natural testosterone levels and so-called differences of sexual development said to give them a competitive advantage.

The ban was based on a study done in 2017 which limited the two athletes as well as the likes of South Africa’s 800 m double Olympic champion Caster Semenya, Burundi’s 2016 Rio Olympics 800 m silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba and Kenya’s 2016 Rio Olympics 800 m bronze medallist Margaret Wambui claiming that women with higher natural occurring testosterone levels had clear, seemingly “unfair,” advantages over other women when competing in certain events.

The study was this year reported to be flawed by the same scientists. The scientists are now stating that athletes with high natural testosterone levels don’t have a competitive advantage over those with low levels of the hormone.

In their findings they claimed that regulations were never based on actual scientific research and didn’t indicate a pivotal relationship between high testosterone levels and that enhanced athletic performance among top female athletes was "exploratory" and "could have been misleading by implying a causal inference" and instead suggested that the implementation of the rule was based on WA’s view of what a woman in the affected disciplines ought to be.

Namibian Sun asked Xoagub if there was any significant development or plans made in approaching WA regarding all these findings and where Mboma and Masilingi stand.

Late last month, Xoagub, president of the National Olympic Committee (NNOC), said they would discuss the matter with the ministry of sports too, as it is a very costly exercise to take on WA. He said yesterday that they would only discuss the matter after the season comes to an end this month.

As it stands, Mboma, Masilingi can compete in the 100 and 200 m events, but not any competitions higher than that.

So far only Semenya’s team of lawyers have fought WA. They challenged them and lost at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2019. They then lost a second appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal last year and then appealed to the European Court of Human Rights to challenge the "discriminatory" rules as Semenya refused to take hormone-suppressing drugs or to undergo surgery.

Lucky enough, with the new findings, her lawyers are at WA’s throat to scrap the incorrect findings which banned the athlete and to allow her to compete in the 800 m again. WA has not issued any statement so far in this regard.

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