Namibia’s Beatrice Masilingi says she was extremely disappointed when she was informed by World Athletics that she would not be able to compete in the 400m event at the Tokyo Olympics Games due to high levels of testosterone.
The 18-year-old says it was unfair for authorities to tell her now that “she was not a woman.”
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She is, however, now thrilled to be competing in the women’s 200m when the heats begin on Monday but the 200m is only a second choice.
Beatrice had been preparing to compete in the 400m in which she was a genuine medal contender after setting the third fastest time this year of 49.53 seconds. She told BBC Sport Africa:
In the beginning, I was very down, you can’t come and tell me now I am not a woman. That is really frustrating and gets me on my nerves but there’s nothing we can do about it at the moment.
It was very disappointing, it was very upsetting as well, I was looking forward to my first Diamond League when I saw the news.
It is really unfair because you cannot expect everyone to be the same, everyone to have the same abilities, we are born with different abilities, we can’t be the same it doesn’t make sense.
Masilingi was only informed in July by World Athletics that her testosterone levels were beyond the allowed limit for female athletes wanting to run in distances from 400m to one mile unless they medically lower their testosterone for a period of at least six months
Masilingi and her training partner Christine Mboma, who is also affected by the rules, are now preparing for the 200m. The duo’s coach Henk Botha said:
Obviously, that set us back in a big way. The thing is we had to adjust and try our best and I am so proud of the two girls the way they are adjusting and the way they are working.
Last year, South Africa athlete, Caster Semenya lost an appeal against a ruling that requires that athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD), must take testosterone reducing drugs,
Semenya said she was very disappointed by this ruling, “but refuse to let World Athletics drug me or stop me from being who I am.”
More: Pindula News; BBC