Olympics: What does the future hold for intersex athletes?

With intersex athletes barred for refusing to alter their natural hormones to fit into Olympic new rules, what does the future hold for them?

Leaving intersex athletes with sad faces, while Tokyo 2020 Olympics plays out well for others is causing serious controversy. The bar is set from 400m race to a mile. 

2016 Olympics held in Rio, saw three outstanding athletes, known as the fastest women, take the podiums to receive their medals in the 800m female race category.

Francine Niyonsaba (Burundi). Caster Semenya (South Africa). Margaret Wambui (Kenya). 

As initially stated, intersex athletes who wouldn’t alter their hormones can still participate in a race, but in a different category where high testosterone is not a barrier.

Here’s how Aminatou Seyni reacted:

“It broke my heart when I was told I couldn’t run in my favourite 400m event because I had higher testosterone. I didn’t want to take any medical steps…My hormones are natural.” 

To participate, she scaled to the 200m race.

According to the sport World Athletics, the new rules are designed to create a balance for all. 800m female race champion, Caster Semenya, naturally has male sex characteristics such as internal testes that produce average male levels of testosterone.

Hence, the sport authority, World Athletics, mandated lower testosterone to “ensure fair competition for all women” implemented in 2019. 

But altering their nature is something the athletes are not cool with. Whereas Francine Niyonsaba and Margaret Wambui are refusing taking drugs or surgery to lower their testosterone, Caster Semenya is fighting the new rules.

By Elijah Christopher

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.

Scroll to Top