Namibian DSD athlete Christine Mboma claims silver in women’s 200m

Silver medallist Christine Mboma of Namibia smiles at the end of the race on Tueday

Silver medallist Christine Mboma of Namibia smiles at the end of the race on Tueday. Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Published Aug 3, 2021


JOHANNESBURG – Namibia’s Christine Mboma bettered her own Under-20 world record to claim silver in the women’s 200m at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday.

Mboma, an athlete with Differences of Sexual Development (DSD), was in sixth place coming into the final straight but powered through the field to finish second behind Jamaican winner Elaine Thompson-Herah.

Herah won in 21.53, with Mboma second in 21.81 which bettered her own Under-20 world record. American Gabrielle Thomas won bronze in 21.87.

Fellow Namibian DSD athlete Beatrice Masilingi finished sixth in a personal best of 22.28.

Both Masilingi and Mboma also qualified for the Olympics in the women’s 400m, but were barred from competing due to DSD regulations.

They are the same rules, targeting women DSD athletes which prevented SA’s Caster Semenya from going for her third Olympic gold in a row in the 800m.

Mboma, 18, ran 48.54 at the Irena Szewińska Memorial meeting in the Polish city of Bydgoszcz in early July. Her time was a new Under-20 world record as well as being one of the top-10 fastest-ever recorded times in the women’s 400m.

Masilingi has a Personal Best (PB) time of 49.53 in the 400m which she ran in Lusaka on April 11 – a day after turning 18.

Not too long ago, it was just Semenya who was seemingly fighting a lone battle to be able to compete freely on the world athletics stage – but the tide may just be turning.

World Athletics passed a ruling in 2018 which banned DSD athletes from women’s events from 400m to one mile, unless they take testosterone-lowering medication. The ruling was fuelled by studying the performances of Semenya, and therefore directly targeted her and the events in which she excelled.

Though Semenya attempted to qualify in the women’s 5000m, it was simply an event not suited to her and she missed out on booking her ticket to the Tokyo Olympics.

African News Agency (ANA)