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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

Medicine's trust problem among women

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The lingering legacy of clinical trials failing to include women as participants, combined with frequent gaslighting by doctors and a general lack of research on women's bodies, has led many to mistrust medicine.

Why it matters: This mistrust plus a constant barrage of misinformation can influence women's health decisions, including deciding not to follow recommendations for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Updated 5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February — FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated".
  2. Vaccines: Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: Beijing Olympic Committee lowers COVID testing threshold ahead of Games — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

State Department orders evacuation of U.S. diplomats' families from Ukraine

From left, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Chargés d'Affaires in Ukraine Kristina Kvien during a meeting with Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal in Kyiv. Photo: Yevhen Liubimov/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The State Department will begin evacuating families and non-essential staff from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv this week, according to a travel advisory released Sunday evening.

Why it matters: The move underscores U.S. fears that a Russian invasion could destabilize Ukraine and threaten embassy's ability to assist Americans.

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