President Hage Geingob said he was disappointed with the decision taken by World Athletics to disqualify Beatrice Masilingi and Christine Mboma from competing in the 400 metre (m) race at the Olympics.
Earlier this month, World Athletics announced that the two sensational Namibian sprinters were barred from competing in the 400m event at the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan after being found to have naturally-occurring testosterone levels beyond those specified by World Athletics.
Speaking during the sending off ceremony of the Olympics athletes on Friday, Geingob said: “This discrimination that is brought up when an athlete is doing well must come to an end.”
He said the Namibian government would protest World Athletics rules on ‘Athletes with Differences of Sexual Development (DSD)’ following testing conducted by the global body.
World Athletics bars athletes classified as DSD from competing in the 400, 800 and 1 500-metre races in the female category unless they artificially reduce their testosterone levels, which the global body claims give the runners an unfair advantage.
Geingob encouraged the Namibian athletes to give it their all in the events they will be competing in at the Olympics.
“This is the first time you are going to compete at these Games and even if you don’t win we are still going to cheer behind you because you will be flying the Namibian flag high,” he said.
Earlier this month 18-year-old Mboma ran the seventh-fastest 400m time by a woman in the world when she competed in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Her time of 48.54 seconds, the fastest time in that event for this year, made her a prime candidate for gold in the event at Tokyo.
Despite being barred from competing in the 400m, both Mboma and Masilingi will be able to compete in the 100m and 200m events and the two sprinters will be making their maiden appearance at the competition in the 200m sprint.
The rescheduled Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, will take place between 23 July and 08 August 2021.
Source: Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA)