Athletes head to Mumias for second leg of AK meetings

Freshia Mwangi (left) of the National Police Service wins final of 100 metres race during national trials held at Lorna Kiplagat Stadium in Iten, Elgeyo-Marakwet County, on April 13, 2019. PHOTO | JRED NYATAYA |

What you need to know:

  • Athletes to compete this weekend regardless of rule of testosterone levels
  • The track and field event, to be held from Friday, was moved from Bukhungu due to poor running track

Athletes affected by IAAF rule on hyperandrogenism will be free to compete in their usual events when the second leg of Athletics Kenya Track and Field Meet is held this weekend at Mumias Sugar Sports Complex in Kakamega County.

Athletics Kenya (AK) Senior Vice President Paul Mutwii on Tuesday disclosed that the 400 metres sprinters Maxmilla Imali and Evangeline Makena, and 800 metres runner Margaret Nyairera are free to compete in their specialties in the second leg of Athletics Kenya Track and Field Meet that will be held in Mumias on Friday and Saturday.

The venue for the second AK Track and Field Meeting has been moved from Bukhungu Stadium to Mumias due to the poor state of the track at Kakamega.

“They are free to compete in any track event as they wish but restrictions will come in only during the trials to select teams for the International Association of Athletics Federation events,” said Mutwii.

The IAAF rule on hyperandrogenism seeks to restrict testosterone levels in female runners.

The IAAF has ruled that athletes with Difference of Sexual Development (DSD) will have to take medication to reduce their testosterone levels if they want to keep running in the same races on the international scene.

The rule applies to competitions starting from 400m to the mile, including hurdles races, 800m, 1,500m and combined events over the same distances. The IAAF announced there would be a separate classification for athletes with hyperandrogenism.

Beginning November 1, athletes with hyperandrogenism will be required to reduce their blood testosterone levels if they want to compete internationally.

Imali, who holds the national 400m and 100m records, will compete for the first time since the Court of Arbitration for Sport threw out South African Caster Semenya’s challenge appeal against the new rule by IAAF three weeks ago.

The rule that came to effect on May 8 saw Imali and Makena miss out on the World Relay Championships held from May 11 to 12 in Yokohama, Japan.

“I want to see if Imali will enter in three races, 100m, 200m and 400m in Mumias,” Imali’s coach Ian Dexter said on phone from Scotland. “She has handled the situation well and is looking forward to performing will in Mumias.” Dexter said Imali is determined to inspire athletes with hyperandrogenism to come out and utilise their God-given talents.

“She (Imali) will not take any drugs to suppress a natural condition.” It’s left to be known whether Makena and Nyairera, who are training mates, will compete in Mumias this weekend.

Already, Semenya, who won the 5,000m race at South African Championships in April, has scaled the ladder and will compete in 3,000m race at the Prefontaine Classic on June 30.

Imali will lead a strong team from Kenya Police Service that has sprinters Joan Cherono, Eunice Kadogo and Freshia Mwangi who are fresh from the World Relay Championships.

Nevian Michira (400m) and Dan Kiviasi (200m), who also represented Kenya at the World Real Championships, will lead a strong Kenya Prisons team for the Mumias meet. Former national 400m hurdles champion Maureen Jelagat and Africa Youth Games javelin champion Martha Musai, who also won silver at the Africa Under-18 championships also forms the Prisons team alongside jumper Ivy Jepkemoi.

Others in the team are Geoffrey Kiprotich (400m), Mark Bett (1,500m), Boaz Kiprugut (1,500m) and Peter Emase (10,000m).