Namibia Sprinters Banned From Events Due to Elevated Testosterone

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Namibian runners Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi have been banned from all races from the 400-meter to 1,600-meter range at the Tokyo Olympics due to "a natural high testosterone level," per the country's National Olympic Committee.

Mboma and Masilingi are two of the fastest 400-meter runners in the world. Mboma set the world's U-20 record for the 400-meter in June, while Masilingi ranked third in the world in 2021 behind Mboma and Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas. But neither will be able to compete in the 400-meter for Namibia in Tokyo.

“According to the rules of World Athletics, this means that they are not eligible to participate in events from 400-meter to 1600-meter,” the Namibia National Olympic Committee said in a statement. “It is important to understand that both our athletes were not aware of this condition neither did any family member, their coach or the NNOC-CGA [Namibia Olympic Committee] were aware of it.

"Both Christine and Beatrice will be able to compete in the 100-meter and 200-meter events.”

A 2019 rule passed by the governing body World Athletics "caps athlete testosterone levels in women’s events from the 400m through the mile," per NBC Sports

Runners can move up or down in distance to avoid the rule's enforcement, or they can take testosterone-suppressing measures to stay in their intended event. 

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