World Athletics — the international governing body for track and field and other running-related sports — announced Thursday it would not allow transgender athletes to compete against women.
The ban, set to be implemented next week, will prohibit “male-to-female transgender athletes who have been through male puberty” from facing off against women in female sports, the BBC reported.
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“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,” said Sebastian Coe, president of World Athletics. “We will be guided in this by the science around physical performance and male advantage which will inevitably develop over the coming years. As more evidence becomes available, we will review our position, but we believe the integrity of the female category in athletics is paramount.”
The council also voted to reduce the amount of blood testosterone allowed for athletes with differences in sex development (DSD). Such competitors, like South Africa’s Caster Semenya, will be required to reduce their blood testosterone level to less than 2.5 nanomoles per liter, down from five.
In order to compete, DSD athletes’ blood testosterone levels must remain under that threshold for at least two years in order to compete internationally in the female category in track and field events.
As for transgender competitors specifically, World Athletics stated, “There are currently no transgender athletes competing internationally in athletics and, consequently, no athletics-specific evidence of the impact these athletes would have on the fairness of female competition in athletics.”
“In these circumstances, the council decided to prioritize fairness and the integrity of the female competition before inclusion,” it added.
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