World Athletics has banned trans-identified male athletes from competing in female categories in international events.
The international governing body’s president, Lord Sebastian Coe, said that no athlete who had gone through male puberty would be permitted to compete in female world ranking competitions as of March 31, reports the BBC.
A working group is to be set up to undertake further research into the eligibility guidelines for transgender inclusion.
“We’re not saying no forever,” Lord Coe told the BBC, adding that the decisions were “guided by the overarching principle which is to protect the female category.”
Speaking at a news conference in Monaco, Lord Coe described the issue as “thorny,” saying sports must “try to strike a balance between inclusivity and making sure there is no unfair advantage.”
Sky News reports that the decision was reached following consultation with a number of stakeholders including 40 member federations, athletes and coaches, together with community groups including trans organisations, UN experts, the IOC and Para Athletics.
"The majority of those consulted stated that transgender athletes should not be competing in the female category," he said.
"Many believe there is insufficient evidence that trans women do not retain advantage over biological women, and want more evidence that any physical advantages have been ameliorated before they are willing to consider an option for inclusion into the female category.”
“Thank you @sebcoe & @WorldAthletics for standing up for female athletes across the world who are worthy of fair sport,” tweeted former Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies.
The World Athletics Council also voted to reduce the testosterone threshold for athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD) to below 2.5 nanomoles per litre, down from 5, and this requirement now applies to all events in the female category. Previously, the restriction only applied to those competing from 400m to a mile.
This new regulation applies to athletes with DSDs such as Caster Semenya. Semenya has XY chromosomes and 5α-Reductase 2 deficiency, causing her to develop outwardly as a female even though she is technically biologically male with naturally elevated testosterone levels.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
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