World Athletics have prevented transgender women from competing in the female events. The governing body announced the choice today, stating that it put “fairness and the integrity of the female competition before inclusion.”
Athletes from Russia and Belarus will remain barred from competition. This includes the Olympics, due to the conflict in Ukraine, according to Seb Coe, president of the governing organization.
This puts the International Olympic Committee, which is looking into a means for Russian and Belarusians to compete at Paris 2024 as “neutrals”, directly at odds with World Athletics.
On the new transgender participation rules, Lord Coe said at a press conference in Monaco, “The World Athletics council has taken the decisive action to protect the female category in our sport.
“The council has agreed to exclude male-to-female transgender athletes who have been through male puberty from female world ranking competitions from March 31 this year.
“The decision that the council made is a primarily principle-based decision; and that is the overarching need to protect the female category. This is what our sport is here to do.”
Under previous rules, transgender women could compete in the female category as long as their testosterone levels were below five nanomoles per litre over a one-year period.
In January, World Athletics announced they wanted to tighten their policy but said their ‘preferred option’ was only to reduce testosterone levels to 2.5 nmol/L and increase the transition period to two years.
This led to a huge backlash from female athletes and women’s rights campaigners who wanted a blanket ban on transgender athletes competing against other women. And yesterday, they got their wish following a vote of World Athletics council members.
The decision by World Athletics follows that of swimming’s world governing body, FINA. The swimming body announced a ban on transgender athletes from competing in elite women’s races last summer.