The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will begin by July 2021 but competitors with high testosterone levels will not be participating in events between 400m and a mile.
As a result, Margaret Wambui, a Kenyan 800m medalist is saying that World Athletics should introduce a third category of events in order to allow competitors with high testosterone levels to compete in their preferred disciplines.
“It would be good if a third category for athletes with high testosterone was introduced – because it is wrong to stop people from using their talents.”
Unlike other runners, Margaret and a few others labelled DSD athletes as a result of natural difference of sexual development cannot participate in events between 400m women race and a mile in their specified women category except they artificially regulate their testosterone levels.
Some of the athletes affected by this rule include Caster Semenya of South Africa and Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi.
Since the rule was made in 2018, none of the 2016 Olympics champions in Rio have contested the 800m race at a global international championship.
Despite Margaret’s plight, World Athletics is not ready to revisit the rule following the current classifications of men’s and women’s events.
This isn’t the first time the third-category idea is coming up as Margaret joins in the fight against the DSD rules.
“We would be the first people to compete in that category – so we can motivate others who are hiding their condition,” she said.
“We could show them that it is not their fault, that this is how they were created, and that they’ve done nothing wrong.”
“They cut short our careers, because that wasn’t our plan. I feel bad that I won’t be in the Olympics because of World Athletics rules,” she added.
On the other hand, Semenya, a two-time Olympics medalist is currently leading a campaign against the DSD rules despite failed attempts in the law courts of Europe.
Coming from the sport’s governing body, female DSD athletes with high testosterone levels cannot compete with non-DSD athletes because testosterone can boost endurance and muscle mass, among other effects which will be unfair to others. For them, the rule is needed to “ensure fair and meaningful competition within the female classification”.
For DSD athletes to complete, they can either reduce testosterone levels by taking specific drugs or by surgery. Though, surgery isn’t necessarily recommended.
While Margaret is clamouring for a third category, Semenya has a different opinion. According to her lawyer, Bracher:
“Caster Semenya was born, raised, and trained, lived and competed as a woman and the entire case is about her right to do so,
“Worse than that is the fact that if you create a category like this, it means no one can run within that category without publicly declaring private health details. It would just be another form of sex testing by enforced self-declaration.”
As the fight continues, Francine has decided to compete in the 5,000m and has qualified on Wednesday rather than take testosterone-reducing drugs.
By Elijah Christopher
Elijah Christopher is a journalist at A New Touch Of Africa, is also a creative writer, a poet, and an IT enthusiast. He contributed to the collaborative poem written in celebration of Edwin Morgan Centenary, the first Glasgow poet laureate and Scottish national poet from the University of Glasgow. He loves meeting people and learning about new places, cultures, events, and lifestyles.