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World Athletics proposes tighter rules for transgender athletes

Max Sherry

| Last updated 

World Athletics proposes tighter rules for transgender athletes

With the debate surrounding transgender sports stars continuing to divide opinion, World Athletics has now had its say on the matter.

The sport's global governing body has suggested tightening the rules around trans eligibility, meaning inclusivity is still at the forefront while ensuring safety and fairness in competition.

World Athletics, headed up by British running legend Sebastian Coe, said it has selected the “preferred option” of working on a proposal that would impose more stringent testosterone limits on transgender athletes, as opposed to simply banning them completely across women’s track and field events.

“Putting forward a preferred option is the best way to gather constructive feedback, but this does not mean this is the option that will be presented to Council or indeed adopted,” World Athletics said in a statement.

Sebastian Coe. Credit: Alamy
Sebastian Coe. Credit: Alamy

While some sports have put a blanket ban on transgender athletes, stopping them from competing altogether like FIDA has with swimming, it seems World Athletics is taking a different stance.

As reported in The Telegraph, various requirements surrounding the biological makeup of the athlete could be tightened, such as tinkering with the plasma testosterone levels for transgender women.

The current regulations have it sitting at 5 nanomoles of plasma testosterone, but that could soon be halved to 2.5 nanomoles per litre.

It's understood other rules will also be reviewed, such as the time since the athlete has transitioned and how long they underwent puberty for.

That said, there has been continued question marks - stemming from both fans and the athletes themselves - as to whether testosterone suppression fully removes some of the physical advantages someone assigned male at birth has.

To that point, while World Athletics has admitted this new proposal is in the works, they still haven't ruled out other options.

“In terms of our female eligibility regulations, we will follow the science and the decade and more of the research we have in this area in order to protect the female category, maintain fairness in our competitions and remain as inclusive as possible,” World Athletics added in the statement.

Caster Semenya. Credit: Alamy
Caster Semenya. Credit: Alamy

“In reviewing a number of new and existing studies and observations from the field, we have put forward a preferred option for consultation with our Member Federations.”

It's a definite U-turn from Seb Coe's previous comments on the topic.

Just last year, the World Athletics president vowed that any decision made on the contentious matter would “be guided by the science” and that “fairness is non-negotiable”.

“Biology trumps identity,” Coe said at the time.

“If we ever get pushed into a corner to that point where we’re making a judgment about fairness or inclusion, I will always fall down on the side of fairness.”

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Athletics, Olympics

Max Sherry
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