Updated Jul 3, 2021 - Sports

Namibian female athletes disqualified from Olympics due to naturally high testosterone levels

Picture of Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya in 2012. Photo: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Namibian 18-year-old sprinters Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi will not be allowed to compete in the women's 400 meters at the Tokyo Olympics due to having naturally high testosterone levels, according to the Namibia National Olympic Committee.

Driving the news: The sprinters now join South African runner Caster Semenya, who is banned from competing after World Athletics ruled in 2018 "that to ensure fair competition, women with high natural testosterone levels must take medication to reduce them to compete in middle-distance races," CNN writes.

Details: The Namibian committee said the testosterone levels were detected in medical assessments required by World Athletics. Neither athlete, their families, coaches or the committee knew about the condition.

  • World Athletics says the "female classification is 'protected'" and "individuals who identify as female but have a certain difference of sex development (DSD) (which means that they have the same advantages over women as men do over women) can pose a challenge to that protected category."

Yes, but: There is "limited research to support the claim that higher testosterone levels offer an unfair advantage," Axios' Jeff Tracy writes.

What's next: The Namibian committee said Mboma and Masilingi will still be allowed to compete in the 100- and 200-meter races.

Go deeper