‘Biology trumps gender’ – World Athletics next to review trans participation in women’s events

In this Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019 photo, Bloomfield High School transgender athlete Terry Miller, second from left, wins the final of the 55-meter dash over transgender athlete Andraya Yearwood, left, and other runners in the Connecticut girls Class S indoor track meet at Hillhouse High School in New Haven, Conn. In the track-and-field community in Connecticut, the dominance of Miller and Yearwood has stirred resentment among some competitors and their families. (AP Photo/Pat Eaton-Robb)
By Thomas Brooke
2 Min Read

The World Athletics governing body will review its existing guidelines for the participation of transgender athletes in women’s events by the end of the year, following a tightening of the eligibility criteria by multiple sporting bodies announced this week.

Transgender swimmers who went through male puberty will be barred from future female events, the swimming world’s governing body, FINA, announced on Monday, while transgender cyclists will be required to maintain a testosterone level no greater than 5 nmol/L for a period of 24 months before competing, double the previous criteria.

Now, World Athletics appears set to re-examine the rules pertaining to track and field events, a move that could have significant repercussions for the next Olympic Games due to be held in Paris in 2024.

Commenting on the decision taken by FINA, the World Athletics governing body’s president, Sebastian Coe, appeared to endorse the tightening of restrictions.

“We see an international federation asserting its primacy in setting rules, regulations and policies that are in the best interest of its sport. This is as it should be. 

“We have always believed, and repeated constantly, that biology trumps gender, and we will continue to review our regulations in line with this,” Coe added.

A British former middle distance runner himself, Coe vowed to “follow the science” when reviewing existing policies and insisted it was his responsibility to “protect the integrity of women’s sport.”

“If it means that we have to make adjustments to protocols going forward, we will,” he added.

“If we ever get pushed into a corner to that point where we’re making a judgement about fairness or inclusion, I will always fall down on the side of fairness,” Coe said, refusing to shy away from adopting a more hardline stance on eligibility requirements in the future.

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