‘Mimi mbona nafanyiwa hivi na mimi ni msichana kama wengine?’ Kenya’s Maxmilia Imali speaks out


'Mimi mbona nafanyiwa hivi na mimi ni msichana kama wengine?' Kenya's Maxmilia Imali speaks ...
Maxmilia Imali during her interview with Olympic Channel

Maxmilia Imali, one of Kenya’s top Olympic long jumpers, has broken her silence months after she was dropped over high testosterone levels in her blood.

In an interview with Olympic Channel, Maxmilia said she had no one to talk to about her condition.

“I went to my mum and asked her ‘mimi mbona nafanyiwa hivi na mimi ni msichana kama wengine?’ and she told me ulizaliwa vizuri kama wasichana wengine na sijawahi ona shida yoyote kwako,” the athlete narrated.

She intimated that her life depends on running as she feeds her family using proceeds from the races that she wins.

When she was told that she could not take part in the Yokohama relay run, Maxmilia said it pained her especially because no one explained the condition to her.

“I did not have any personal doctor to explain to me about testosterone in the body, I just heard rumors from people but I really needed someone to explain to me deeper what was happening to my body,” she said.

She revealed that the first time she was tested for testosterone was in 2014 after she came back from the world Junior championships in Oregon, U.S.

The athlete told Olympic Channel that she was tested at that time but results came back negative.

In 2019, Maximila qualified to represent Kenya in the Yokohama World Relays but says she was dropped from the team without an explanation.

“You can’t travel with the team…you will taint the reputation of the federation,” Maximilla narrated to Olympic Channel what she was told.

“I told God, if you created me the way I am, and gave me this body as it is, I will not argue, though it pained me a lot since I could not even talk to my inner circle,” she added.

According to the Olympic Channel, Caster Semenya is the most high profile DSD athlete; DSD stands for disorders of sex development.

The sports channel says Semenya’s failed court challenge against the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) ruling had far reaching repercussions.

IAAF introduced new regulations last year known as Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development).

In the new rules, blood testosterone levels must be below five (5) nmol/L for a continuous period of at least six months.

According to IAAF, most females (including elite female athletes) have low levels of testosterone circulating naturally in their bodies (0.12 to 1.79 nmol/L in blood).

“No female would have serum levels of natural testosterone at 5 nmol/L or above unless they have DSD or a tumor,” a statement on the website reads.

The federation however insists that revised rules are not about cheating but leveling the playing field.

Maxmilia, Francine Niyosaba (800m Burundian silver medallist), Margaret Nyairera Wambui (Olympic 800 metres bronze medallist) and other athletes with high testosterone levels are now required to take medication to reduce their testosterone levels or remain locked out.

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Story By Imani Mitchelle
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