2nd July 2021

Exclusion of Namibian athletes from the 400m event

The Namibia National Olympic Committee and Commonwealth Games Association wishes to make the following statement regarding the recent developments concerning the Namibian sprinters, Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi; It is procedural for World Athletics to request medical assessments on international athletes on a regular basis. World Athletics has, according to its procedures stipulated in their Rules pertaining to “Athletes with Differences of Sex Development” required the two athletes amongst other international athletes, to undergo medical assessments. 

Those assessments were done in Italy where the athletes are currently based in a training camp. The results from the testing centre indicated that both athletes have a natural high testosterone level. According to the rules of World Athletics, this means that they are not eligible to participate in events from 400m to 1600m. Restricted Events are 400m races, 400m hurdles races, 800m races, 1500m races, one mile races, and all other Track Events over distances between 400m and one mile (inclusive), whether run alone or as part of a relay event or a Combined Event. 

For clarity, as used in these Regulations, the term ‘Restricted Event’ encompasses any Combined Event that includes one or more Restricted Events, so that an athlete who is eligible under these Regulations to compete in Restricted Events is also eligible to compete in Combined Events that include Restricted Events; while an athlete who is ineligible to compete in Restricted Events is also ineligible to compete in Combined Events that include restricted events. 

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 were aware of it. The NNOC-CGA and our medical officer, Dr. Ben Viljoen are in close contact with Dr. Stephane Bermon, medical officer of World Athletics with regards to the way forward in the interest of our two sprinters. 

We will analyse all information and apply it in the best interest of those two young girls. We are positive on their future as elite athletes. This should not be viewed negatively but rather as a new challenge and opportunity. Both Christine and Beatrice will be able to compete in the 100m and 200m events. Henk Botha, their coach is positive to continue working with the girls on those events while we are consolidating on the way forward. 

On behalf of the NNOC-CGA we wish to express sincere gratitude for your understanding. The athletes and their coach enjoy immense support from the Namibian public and worldwide – we are grateful. We wish to appeal to everybody to stay positive and to keep on supporting our athletes while they are preparing for their first Olympic Games. Enclosed hereto, are the regulations from World Athletics. 

Abner Axel Xoagub, President

• This media release was published by the Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) on 2 July 2021. Click here for the original.

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