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Too much testosterone: an African woman has done well in the Olympics. People are angry about this

On August 3, a girl from Namibia named Kristin Mbomah set the new world record for the 200 meter race. She finished in 21.81 seconds and won silver in the 2020 Olympics. This is also the first medal that her country has had since 1996.

25 years ago, another African woman won bronze in the same event.

  1. Jamaican runner Elaine Thompson won gold in yesterday’s race with a time of 21.53, setting an unusual achievement by becoming the first athlete to take gold in the 100 and 200 meters at two Olympic Games. She managed to repeat her compatriot Usain Bolt’s success of doing similar things at 2008, 2012 and 2016.
  2. As for bronze, Gabrielle Thomas of the USA was placed third. Her time is 21.87.

What’s wrong with Mbom’s success

The problem lies in the differences in the body of an athlete. The athlete has too much testosterone, which is the hormone that men have. Mbom and Beatriz Masilinga both had this problem because they grew up with it!

This hormonal disorder is called hyperandrogenism. Needless to say, the benefits it brings to runners include explosive starts and stress tolerance. All of this has helped Christine set all sorts of records along the way. However, when running distances longer than 400 meters, Christine’s time cannot be officially recognised because she is intersex. The reason?

According to a new rule introduced by the World Athletics, female athletes with gender differences cannot take part in running events that are longer than 400m and shorter than 1500m if they have testosterone levels of 5 nanomoles per litre or more in their blood. This is because most women’s testosterone levels do not go above 3 units.

Criticism, it’s here too

Despite the public’s disapproval, Mbom achieved a narrow victory in Tokyo. Furthermore, she has an “unsportsmanlike superiority” over her opponents due to her testosterone levels and low technique. This makes sense as there is only one distance available for Mbom at the Olympics. Sadly, the IOC seems to be turning a blind eye on this athlete since she did not break any rules.

But the matter is only resolved in the short term. In the longer term, organizers need to rethink their rules for which athletes can participate and stop putting a minority of people at a disadvantage.

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