Namibian sprinters Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi have been ruled ineligible for the Tokyo Olympics by the World Athletics organization.
Per an official statement from the Namibian Olympic Committee, Mboma and Masilingi have been deemed ineligible to compete because they have naturally high testosterone levels that are above the threshold allowed by World Athletics, the international governing body for track and field.
The International Amateur Athletic Federation adopted a new eligibility policy in 2019 for the 400 meters, 400-meter hurdles, 800 meters, 1500 meters, one-mile races and all other events between 400 meters and one mile.
The policy states in order to receive female classification, an athlete "must be recognised at law either as female or as intersex" and "reduce her blood testosterone level to below five (5) nmol/L for a continuous period of at least six months."
The blood-testosterone level must stay below the five nmol/L "for so long as she wishes to remain eligible."
The policy has come under intense scrutiny for preventing Caster Semenya, Francine Niyonsaba and Margaret Wambui, the top three medal winners in the 800 meters at the 2016 Olympics, from competing in that event at the Tokyo Games because of their naturally high testosterone levels. The athletes would be required to take medication to lower their testosterone levels in order to be allowed to compete.
WNBA star Brianna Turner, who currently plays for the Atlanta Dream, tweeted about her unhappiness with the announcement:
Brianna Turner @_Breezy_Briii
Imagine qualifying for the Olympics but your later disqualified bc you have naturally high testosterone levels. In a year where so many people have restricted trans athletes access to sports it’s ironic that this ban is for cis women. Laws against trans women affect all women. <a href="https://t.co/UfKYfnpwOh">https://t.co/UfKYfnpwOh</a>
Mboma and Masilingi were expected to be among the top contenders in the women's 400 meters in Tokyo.
Mboma posted the seventh-fastest time (48.54 seconds) in women's 400-meter history at a June 30 event in Poland.
Masilingi's 49.53 seconds in the 400 meters at National Heroes Stadium in April was the fastest time of her career in that event.