Ban From Olympics A Major Blow to Intersex Athletes' Rights

The ban on intersex athletes who refuse to alter their natural hormones is one of many controversies regarding the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. When the world's fastest women race for gold over 800m in Tokyo, all three medallists from the 2016 Olympics will be absent - barred as intersex athletes who refuse to alter their natural hormones to meet the rules of sport. The ban is one of many controversies dogging a sporting spectacle that opens on July 23, 2021 - a year late - amid a global pandemic, a slew of scandals and deep disquiet over potential risk to life of staging a mega event between 206 nations.  For some of the women who have trained relentlessly for the chance at middle-distance glory, the intersex dispute is a mere distraction. For those sidelined - a disaster, Rachel Savage writes for the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Earlier, Namibian sprint duo Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi were withdrawn from the Olympics 400m event at the Olympics due to a rule capping testosterone levels in women's events from the 400m through the mile, according to Namibia's National Olympic Committee. It's the same rule that affected all three Rio Olympic 800m medalists - Caster Semenya of South Africa, Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi and Margaret Wambui of Kenya - and Niger's Aminatou Seyni, who was the world's third-fastest 400m runner in 2019 before moving to the 200m for that year's world championships.


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