Spirited Mboma looks to the future

Christine Mboma in action. File photo

Christine Mbomba (20) is determined to return to her best after World Athletics ended the Namibian track star’s exile from competition on Friday.

Mboma, who shot to fame after storming to a silver medal in the women’s 200m the Tokyo Olympics at 18 years old, is allowed to compete in all events except those between 400 metres and one mile.

“I’m excited to be back on track. It’s been a long journey, and I had to stay positive throughout,” she said yesterday.

“I am excited to be back competing for myself, for my family and for my country.”

Her mentor, Henk Botha, said there is no doubt that the 20-year-old sprinter could reach or exceed the level that catapulted her to global stardom.

Mboma’s strong mentality and work ethic have resulted in getting the ban overturned, “and that resilient character will guide her towards attaining a spot to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris”, he said.

“As Christine Mboma’s coach, I’ve witnessed first-hand her unwavering dedication and resilience throughout this journey. It’s been a testament to her character and commitment to her sport.

“Despite facing challenges, Christine has remained focused and determined, demonstrating her passion for running and her desire to compete at the highest level,” Botha said.

World Athletics curtailed the then teenage sensation’s progress after barring Mboma from competition in March last year, forcing her to reduce naturally occurring testosterone levels.

The global athletics governing body appears satisfied with Mboma’s levels after undergoing months of hormone suppression therapy.

She missed out on the World Championships, African Games and Diamond League during this period.

“Throughout this process, we’ve remained diligent in following all the necessary protocols and treatments to ensure compliance with regulations. Christine has undergone the required testosterone level lowering treatment with the utmost professionalism and dedication,” Botha said.

“From this experience, I draw immense positives. It showcases Christine’s strength of character and her ability to overcome obstacles. Christine has embraced this journey with grace and determination, and I couldn’t be prouder of her growth and development as an athlete,” he said.

“Looking ahead, I am optimistic about her future success. She has proven herself as a formidable competitor, and I have no doubt that she would continue to excel on the track.

“As her coach, I am honoured to support her every step of the way.”

In an interview with The Guardian in August last year, Mboma said she would still be able to produce sterling results even after the treatment.

“I can say I have been taking the [testosterone-lowering] medication, and it’s had no impact. I know I can run as fast as before even with it. The way I’m training, I’m okay. I feel confident,” she said.

Mboma’s management team said she was eager to make up for lost time and is focused on pre-season training.

She plans to be based in Europe from May to pursue qualification for the upcoming Olympics.

“This is a significant step, and Christine wants to thank all her supporters for their unwavering encouragement and faith in her. She is looking forward to returning to the track,” her management team said in a statement.

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