Transgender athletes to be allowed to compete against women in new World Athletics rules

World Athletics is set to leave the door open for transgender athletes to compete against women at the highest level.

Sports chiefs have found themselves with a tough decision to make whether to allow male-born trans women to compete in female categories. Last year the Olympic Committee published statement which stated that ‘fairness and scientific evidence’ should be taken into account by international federations when devising eligibility criteria for trans athletes.

Triathlon became the first British sport to ban trans women from competing in female events instead changing the name of their men’s category to ‘open’. English Volleyball followed them while British Cycling banned a trans athlete competing at last year’s National Omnium Championships and are completing a review of their policy.

World Athletics are yet to decide their stance in the trans athlete debate but Telegraph Sport reports that the governing body has begun a consultation with its member federations over a proposed rule change.

The change would see a tightening of regulations but fall short of banning trans women from competing in female events at the highest level.

The consultation sent to member federations says: “This preferred option would allow significant (although not full) reduction of anaerobic, aerobic performances and body composition changes, while still providing a path for eligibility of trans women and 46 XY DSD individuals to compete in the female category.”

The Telegraph states that the preferred option also includes a ‘full harmonisation of its trans regulations’ and those governing athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD), including Caster Semenya.

The “preferred option” would see a halving of the maximum permitted plasma testosterone for trans women from five nanomoles per litre to 2.5 nmol/L. There would also be a doubling of the period athletes must remain below that threshold before being allowed to compete from one to two years.

Athletes currently must remain below a 5nmol/L level for just six months to compete in track events from 400 metres to a mile.

It has been reported that the confidential consultation was sent to member federations amid ‘strict secrecy’ and presented to the governing body’s council at the end of November. A final decision will be made by the council in March.



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