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World Athletics to exclude transgender women from female events

World Athletics to exclude transgender women from female events

The peak sporting body has now made its final ruling.

World Athletics has banned transgender people from women's elite competitions in an effort to protect the rights of female competitors.

Athletes will be banned from competing as a woman if they underwent puberty as a male, with World Athletics president Seb Coe commenting that while the move will cause a ruckus in the sporting world, it was a decision made in by the 'overarching principle' of fairness, The Guardian reports.

Coe went on to reference the science around physical performance and male advantage.

"Decisions are always difficult when they involve conflicting needs and rights between different groups, but we continue to take the view that we must maintain fairness for female athletes above all other considerations," he said.

"We believe the integrity of the female category in athletics is paramount."

US Transgender athlete Nikki Hiltz.
Reuters/Alamy.

The head of World Athletics went on a working group that would now be founded to consult with transgender athletes, keep an eye on policy changes, and to review any fresh research that could dictate their own policy.

"We’re not saying no forever," he said.

Coe added there was 'little support' from athletes to lower the accepted testosterone levels transgender athletes could have in their systems to compete.

He went on to add that those sporting bodies and athletes consulted had made it clear they wanted to prioritise fairness for female sport over inclusion.

“We entered into a consultation some months ago because we wanted to provoke debate,” he said. “It was really important that we heard from all our stakeholders, including the athletes, the coaches and member federations. And my goodness, we heard from them.”

The global sporting body, which oversees elite track and field, road running, cross country running, and race-walking events, has now joined World Rugby and World Swimming as denying trans athletes from competing in women's events.

Trans athlete Lia Thomas winning the NCTAA final while competing as a woman Sipa US / Alamy
Trans athlete Lia Thomas winning the NCTAA final while competing as a woman Sipa US / Alamy

The global swimming body decided to nix transgender athletes from the rulebook after US swimmer Lia Thomas, who had been a moderate college sportsman won an NCAA national college female title in 2022.

The decision by World Athletics will likely suffer from kickback from LGBTQ+ groups.

One such group, Stonewall, urged sporting bodies to remain as inclusive as possible for all.

"The trans population may be small, but they have every right to participate in sports and enjoy the many physical, mental and community benefits of sports," Stonewall said.

"The scientific evidence base on trans people in sport is developing but is far from conclusive."

Featured Image Credit: Action Plus Sports Images / Alamy. Mariano Garcia / Alamy.

Topics: Sport, LGBTQ, World News