Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) president Abner Xoagub says they are working with central government and other stakeholders to start legal and consultative steps in the fight against Beatrice Masilingi and Christine Mboma’s ban from 400m races.
Prior to the recent Tokyo Olympic Games, the teenagers were banned by World Athletics (WA) from participating in 400m races due to “elevated natural testosterone levels. They were classified as athletes with differences in sex development (DSD).
Under the global governing body’s rules, both athletes must take drugs to reduce their naturally-occurring testosterone levels if they want to compete in women’s events ranging from 400m to 1,500m. The rules have led to a global backlash, with many saying they are inhumane, discriminatory and mostly target African athletes.
Namibian President Hage Geingob and the teen sprinters’ coach, Henk Botha, have publicly slammed the discriminatory rules, saying they should be challenged at all legal and political platforms.
At a Tokyo Olympics’ debriefing session in Windhoek this week, Xoagub said NNOC and other stakeholders had taken steps to start address the banishment of the two runners.
“We have been working on coming up with a special committee, which will include the NNOC, government, the girls’ parents and guardians as well as other relevant stakeholders to discuss and come up with a strong solution to this issue. It is affecting us as a nation,” he stated.
“Once the committee is fully formed and all relevant people are on board, we will look at ways to deal with this issue and maybe write a formal letter to WA, wherein we will strongly and uncompromisingly object to the ban of our girls. But at this point, that is what we are currently working on and trying to find ways to deal with the situation.”
Xoagub also called on sponsors to come on board and help the country’s plans for the next Olympics, which are slated for France in 2024. He said it was important to begin preparations now to ensure Namibia maintained an upward trajectory at international sporting events. – New Era