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NNOC puts plans in motion to challenge sprinters’ ban

2021-08-19  Maurice Kambukwe

NNOC puts plans in motion to challenge sprinters’ ban

Maurice Kambukwe

Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) president Abner Xoagub yesterday shared that they are in the process of teaming up with government and other relevant stakeholders to start legal and consultative steps in the fight against Beatrice Masilingi and Christine Mboma’s ban from the 400m races.

Prior to the recent Tokyo Olympic Games, the teenagers were slapped with a ban by World Athletics (WA) from partaking in 400m races due to their perceived elevated natural testosterone levels, which are a violation of WA rules. They are now 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 a mile. The rules and the subsequent banishing of the two Namibian sprint sensations have led to public and political backlash, with many saying the rules are inhumane, discriminatory and mostly target African athletes.

President Hage Geingob and the sprinters’ coach Henk Botha have also publicly spoken out about the unfairness and discrimination of the rules, saying it is high time they are challenged at all legal and political platforms. Speaking at yesterday’s Tokyo Olympics’ debriefing session held in the capital, Xoagub shared similar sentiments, saying the NNOC, along with its stakeholders, have already taken steps to start addressing 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 used the same platform to call upon sponsors to come on board and help the country put plans in motion as early as possible for the next Olympics, which are slated for France in 2024. He said it is important to begin now with preparations for the next edition of the Olympics, as that is the only way Namibia can maintain an upward trajectory at international level.

“We should start with our preparations on time because other countries have already begun with their preparations for the next Olympics. We are appealing to corporates to come on board, and invest in our athletes’ preparations if we want to maintain our new stance as a medal-winning country,” he appealed.

2021-08-19  Maurice Kambukwe

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