Kenyan runner Wambui fears testosterone rules will end career

Thursday May 16, 2019

 

Kenya's Olympic 800 metres bronze medallist Margaret Nyairera Wambui can feel her career slipping away from her, with no idea when, or if, she will be able to compete internationally again.


The 24-year-old is one of several star female athletes affected by an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) ruling this month that requires women with high levels of testosterone to take medication to suppress it.


Seated at a dirt-track stadium at the foot of the Ngong Hills outside Nairobi where she trains, Wambui has just returned from a disappointing sixth-place finish in the 800m at the Doha Diamond League.


She was meant to leave for the IAAF World Challenge athletics meeting in Nanjing next week, but now her future is one big question mark.


"I am very disappointed, I don't feel even like going on with the training because you don't know what you are training for," she told AFP.


The new IAAF rules took effect on May 8 after South Africa's two-time Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya lost a legal challenge against them.


For about a decade Semenya has been the symbol of a furious debate worldwide about questions of gender, women with elevated testosterone, and physical advantage.

However other athletes such as Wambui, who finished third behind Semenya in the 800m at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and the silver medallist from Burundi, Francine Niyonsaba, are also affected.