Mboma eyes Diamond League after Nairobi win
OLYMPIC silver medallist Christine Mboma, who is unable to compete at certain events due to controversial rules over testosterone levels, said she wants to make her Diamond League debut in the near future after winning the women’s 200m at the World Under-20 Championships in a world record time for the age group of 21.84sec last Saturday.
Her fellow Namibian Beatrice Masilingi, who is also classified as having differences in sexual development (DSD) with naturally high testosterone levels, finished second in 22.18sec with Nigeria’s Favour Ofili third in 22.23sec.
On Friday, last week, in her semi-final 18-year-old Mboma ran 22.41sec before Masilingi went 0.22sec quicker in her own qualifier.
Mboma made her debut at a major international competition in Tokyo earlier this month and only competed in her first race outside of Africa with an event in the Czech Republic in June.
The next Diamond League event is on Thursday in Lausanne before Paris on Saturday, with two further legs left in the season.
“Records come and go, you don’t own it. Yesterday I set a championship record and minutes later Masilingi lowered it even further,” Mboma told World Athletics.
“I am excited to have registered the world U20 record today but know it will sooner rather than later be broken.
“I hope to take part in Diamond League events soon,” she added.
Under World Athletics rules, Mbomba and Masilingi’s rare physiology is deemed to give them an unfair competitive advantage in track events ranging between 400m and one mile.
Masilingi, also 18, who finished second in Thursday’s 100m, in a season where she also made her bow on a non-African track at the same meeting in Prague.
“The competition was really tough but what do you expect in a final?” Masilingi told World Athletics.
“To be honest the championships were really great this year. I did enjoy every bit of it. I am looking forward to next year,” she added.
The pair are subject to the same issue that led to South Africa’s two-time Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya, who is also classified as a DSD athlete, being unable to defend her middle-distance crown in Tokyo.
Coach of both Mboma and Masilingi, Henk Botha is still not sure whether it will be Mboma or Masilingi that will be running in the Diamond League that is scheduled to take place next month in Zurich, Switzerland.
Botha was team Namibia coach at the World Under-20 Championships that were held from August 18 to 22 at the Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, which also saw the Namibia female 4×100 metre relay team winning silver medal, behind winners Jamaica.
The relay team comprised of Mboma, Masilingi, Ndawana Haitembu and Nand Vass.
Another athlete that represented the country in Nairobi was 18-year-old male 100m sprinter Elvis Gaseb who despite failing to qualify for the final heats impressed Botha.
“There is a surprise and we are only waiting for confirmation for the short European trip. But there is a possibility for one of our girls to run in the Diamond League finals in Zurich. I am very much happy with the results that we wished for and I think the girls did a great job.
“Elvis ran like a lion and we must realise that this was a World Championships and not a small event. I can only see a bright future in all these athletes,” Botha told Confidente Sport upon team Namibia’s arrival home from Nairobi on Monday.
* Additional information: Michael Uugwanga