Female African Sprinters Banned From Tokyo Events Due to Elevated Testosterone

Namibian sprinters Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi have effectively been ruled ineligible to compete in the women’s 400m at the Tokyo Olympics due to naturally high testosterone levels, the Namibia National Olympic Committee and Commonwealth Games Association (NNOC-CGA) said in a statement.

Mboma and Masilingi, who have turned in four of the top five 400m times in the world in 2021, reportedly had elevated testosterone levels that were detected during medical assessments required by World Athletics.

The global governing body requires that female athletes’ blood testosterone levels be under 5 nmol/L (nanomoles per liter) to compete in select women’s events, according to CNN. In order to compete, those athletes must lower their testosterone levels with medication.

“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.

The committee said that neither of the 18-year-old athletes, nor their families, coaches or the Namibia National Olympic Committee were aware of their condition.

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

The committee said it’s in close contact with World Athletics about paving a way forward for the two athletes.

“We will analyse all information and apply it in the best interest of those two young girls,” the statement reads.

“We are positive on their future as elite athletes.”

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.