Top 400m sprinters ruled ineligible due to testosterone rule, officials say

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Two of the world’s three fastest women’s 400m sprinters this year were ruled ineligible to run the event at the Olympics due to a rule capping testosterone levels in women’s events from the 400m through the mile, according to their National Olympic Committee.

Namibians Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi, both 18, “have a natural high testosterone level” after undergoing medical tests for athletes with differences of sexual development, according to the Namibia Olympic Committee.

“According to the rules of World Athletics, this means that they are not eligible to participate in events from 400m to 1600m,” according to the committee. “It is important to understand that both our athletes were not aware of this condition neither did any family member, their coach or the NNOC-CGA [Namibia Olympic Committee] were aware of it. … Both Christine and Beatrice will be able to compete in the 100m and 200m events.”

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.

Mboma and Masilingi burst on the scene this year.

Mboma lowered her personal best from 51.57 seconds to 48.54, running a world U20 record and the fastest time in the world this year on Wednesday.

Masilingi lowered her personal best from 50.42 to 49.53, ranking her third in the world this year behind Mboma and Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas.

A World Athletics rule, which went into effect in 2019, caps athlete testosterone levels in women’s events from the 400m through the mile for athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD). World Athletics said that no female athletes would have a level above the cap — five nanomoles per liter — unless they had a DSD or a tumor.

Runners can either move up or down in distance or take testosterone-suppressing measures and stay under the limit for six consecutive months before being able to compete in those events.

Semenya and Niyonsaba moved up to the 5000m, with Niyonsaba qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics.

The seven fastest women’s 400m sprinters since the start of 2019 are not expected to contest the event in Tokyo for various reasons.

Miller-Uibo chose her other primary event, the 200m, as the 200m and 400m overlap on the Olympic schedule.

The 2019 World champion Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain is banned over missing drug tests.

World bronze medalist Shericka Jackson of Jamaica switched to the 100m and 200m.

American Athing Mu will run the 800m, her primary event.

Mboma, Masilingi and Seyni are qualified for the 200m.

The fastest woman in the world since the start of 2019 who is expected to race the 400m in Tokyo is American Wadeline Jonathas, who was fourth at 2019 Worlds and third at the Olympic Trials.

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12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell

At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich

A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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