Semenya ruling won’t affect Mboma, Masilingi for now

Christine Mboma in action. Photo: Helge Schütz

Semenya’s victory in an appeal at the European Court of Human Rights will not have an immediate effect on Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi’s ban from competition, although it could lead to further developments.

This is what Mboma’s coach Henk Botha said in reaction to Semenya winning her case against the Swiss government involving testosterone levels in female athletes.

Semenya, like the Namibian pair, has been categorised as an athlete with differences of sexual development (DSD) and is not allowed to compete in any track events without taking testosterone-reducing drugs.

The BBC reported that the ruling also found that World Athletics’ DSD regulations were a “source of discrimination” for Semenya “by the manner in which they were exercised and by their effects”, and the regulations were “incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)”.

The case at the ECHR was, however, not against sporting bodies, but specifically against the government of Switzerland for not protecting Semenya’s rights, and dates back to a Swiss Supreme Court ruling three years ago.

Botha said the ruling will not affect Mboma or Masilingi’s situation for the time being.

“I’m in Europe at the moment and also only heard the news now. However, it’s a case that Semenya made regarding the violation of her human rights and she won it so I presume it will now be taken further,” he said.

“But at this stage it has no influence on the regulations of World Athletics, and it doesn’t really have an impact on Christine or Beatrice’s participation at international events. World Athletics’ ruling remains the same, but it can lead to something bigger, so we are following the news with interest and anticipation.”

Botha said they were continuing with their training programme and adhering to medication to lower Mboma’s testosterone levels.

In the meantime, we will continue as before and Christine is training with the medication, and that’s where we are now.

“According to the ruling by World Athletics, no athlete with natural higher testosterone, or as they say DSD athletes, may compete unless they have lowered their testosterone levels to 2,5. That’s the ruling and we have been using medication and Christine is actually doing quite well with hardly any side effects,” he said.

“The only thing is that when she reaches the required levels she still has to wait for another six-month period before she may participate again,” he said.

As a result, Mboma or Masilingi will only be able to compete next year again, he said.

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