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Former sprinter demands silver medalist be tested after she runs faster than he did at her age

Marcin Urbas demanded that Namibia's Christine Mboma be tested "to find out if she definitely is a woman."

Former sprinter demands silver medalist be tested after she runs faster than he did at her age
Cover Image Source: Christine Mboma of Team Namibia during the Women's 200m Final at Olympic Stadium on August 03, 2021 Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Roger Sedres/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

A retired Polish sprinter has come under fire online for demanding that Namibia's Christine Mboma be tested "to find out if she definitely is a woman" after she won the silver medal in the women’s 200-meter dash at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Eighteen-year-old Mboma, who finished second to Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica in 21.81 seconds, achieved the fastest time ever run by a woman under 20 years old. Meanwhile, former Polish sprinter Marcin Urbas seemed to take personal offense to her impressive achievement as his personal best time in the same race was 22.01 seconds when he was her age.



Speaking to Spanish sports news outlet Marca, Urbas said: "I would like to request a thorough test on Mboma to find out if she definitely is a woman. The testosterone advantage of Mboma over other participants is seen with the naked eye." The 44-year-old added that Mboma's "construction, movement, technique, speed, and endurance" are also proof that she isn't a woman. "She has the parameters of an 18-year-old boy, at that age, my PB was 22.01 and she has done it in 21.97 in Tokyo. With progression and improvement in her technique, she will soon drop to 21.00 seconds in 200m and 47.00 seconds in the 400m," he said.



Urbas went on to claim that if her body is not investigated, "we will continue to think that she is fair and equal, and it is a clear and insolent injustice against women who are definitely women." According to The New York Times, Mboma and her Namibian teammate Beatrice Masilingi—who finished sixth in the 200 meters—were declared ineligible for the 400 meters race at the Olympics by World Athletics last month due to restrictions governing women with a rare genetic condition that results in naturally elevated testosterone levels.



World Athletics rules dictate that athletes with so-called disorders of sexual development, or DSDs, who want to compete in women's running events from 400 meters to the mile, must first reduce their elevated testosterone levels below the normal male range. However, Namibia's Olympic committee said in a statement in July that the sprinters had naturally high levels of testosterone and were unaware of it until they underwent a medical assessment at a training camp in Italy. Mboma and Masilingi ultimately qualified for and entered the Olympic 200 meters race, which is not governed by the testosterone restrictions.



World Athletics President Sebastian Coe defended the controversial testosterone rules following Mboma's impressive performance last week and claimed that her late surge to win the silver medal suggests that they are vindicated. "It was pretty observable that the last 30m or 40m of the 200m were impactful. And, actually, I think that vindicated the decision about the 400m. If you are finishing a 200m like that, you extend the runway. That in a way supports the judgment that was made," he said, reports The Guardian. "Was it right to do what we did at the distances? Yes, and I think the 800m yesterday was a very good example of that. It says a lot about some of the policies we have adopted that we have that kind of race, and people like Athing Mu and Keely Hodgkinson coming through."



On the other hand, critics argue that Mboma's performance raises questions about the scientific precision and validity of restrictions placed on athlete eligibility in women's races from 400 meters to the mile. "It shows this is not an evidence-based regulation," said Roger Pielke Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado. "It's about World Athletics's perception as to who is properly a woman and who is not." 


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