Margaret Nyairera Wambui of Kenya, who won the bronze medal in the 2016 Olympic 800m final, has been banned by her federation from competing at Stockholm Diamond League on May 30 because she refuses to comply with the new IAAF rule requiring her to take medication to lower her testosterone, even though the rule was intended to limit competition at world championships and Olympic Games.
As a result, it is unlikely Wambui will be able to qualify for this year’s world championships to be held in Doha in September.
The new IAAF rule, which was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on May 1 after being challenged by 800m Olympic gold medallist Caster Semenya, requires women like Semenya and Wambui who have DSD (differences of sexual development) and naturally high levels of testosterone to take medication to lower it to not more than five nmol/L if they want to compete at distances between 400m and the mile in Olympic or world championship competition.
Many people feel the rule was targeted at Semenya, who has dominated the 800m since she appeared on the track scene in 2009, except during a period of time when an earlier version of the testosterone rule was implemented. (This earlier testosterone rule was successfully challenged by Indian sprinter Dutee Chand in 2014-2015 and lifted for two years, re-instated last year and appealed to the CAS by Semenya. It is now back in effect after the CAS ruled in favour of the IAAF on May 1.)
Just before the CAS ruling, the silver medallist from that same 800m final in Rio, Francine Niyonsaba, went public about her own DSD status, indicating that she, too, would be affected by the testosterone rule.
A report in Kenyans.Co.Ke claims the Kenyan federation dropped sprinter Maxmilla Imali from the team that competed at World Relays in Yokohama recently for similar reasons, even though the rule does not apply to distances below 400m.
Semenya, meanwhile, has announced she will race the 3,000m at the Prefontaine Classic at Stanford University on June 30.
The South African federation has announced it will appeal the CAS decision to the Swiss Federal Tribunal by the June 1 deadline. An appeal is expected to take at least six months.