Amos Abuga @PeopleSport11
Kenyan sprinter Maximilla Imali is the first casualty of the new IAAF testosterone rules as she has been forced to quit 400m to focus on 100m and 200m after deciding against taking suppressants.
The runner, who is a national champion in 100m and 200m as well as a national record holder in 400m, was barred from representing Kenya in the World Relays Championships in Yokohama, Japan last weekend after last-minute tests revealed that her testosterone levels, alongside that of upcoming runner Evangeline Makena, are above normal.
Going by the new IAAF rules, which came into effect on May 8, female athletes whose testosterone levels are above normal cannot compete in any race between 400m and 1,500m and to do so, they must either take hormone-suppressing pills, compete against men in those races or go for events lower than 400m and above the mile.
This has left Imali with limited options even though she insists her body is perfect.
“There is nothing I can do but stick to my principles. I will continue to run in 100m and 200m because I am equally good in the two events,” she told People Sport on Monday.
She added: “I was extremely disappointed being left out of the team for Yokohama. Nobody chooses how or where they are born. I love my body as it is, and I don’t see myself taking the said pills. You only treat a problem but I don’t see any.”
“I know I am a woman and that will never change. Neither can I change how people perceive me. It is wrong to be forced to use medication when you know very well that you don’t need any,” said Imali.