IN a shocking development, Namibia’s athletics sensations Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi have been withdrawn from the 400m for the Tokyo Olympics.
The athletes’ coach Henk Botha confirmed the news on Thursday night, but added that he could not comment as he had just received a report from World Athletics that he still had to study.
Both athletes, who have been in scintillating form at various meetings in Europe, have been withdrawn from the list of athletes on World Athletics’ Olympic 400m page, although they still appear amongst the 200m athletes for the Olympics.
This suggests that they did not meet the World Athletics eligibility regulations for female classification that apply to running events from 400m to the mile and that their testosterone levels are too high.
The athletics website letsrun.com which broke the news, reports that ‘the same rules are preventing Caster Semenya, Francine Niyonsaba and Margaret Wambui from competing in the 800m as they have all refused to lower their testosterone with birth control pills.’
“If Mboma was eligible for the 400m, one would think she’d be the overwhelming gold medal favourite. In the history of the world, no woman at her age had accomplished what she did yesterday,” it added.