Top athletics body to allow transgender athletes to compete in women sporting events
In what comes as a controversial decision, set to divide the sporting community once again, World Athletics has proposed that transgender women be allowed to compete in the female category in international track and field events.
The top athletics body has reportedly started a consultation process with its member federations regarding a proposed rule change. Though a final decision is yet to be made, World Athletics has indicated that rules will be tightened but a full ban will not be implemented.
According to documents assessed by British media, World Athletics has told the members that its 'preferred option' will be to allow transgender women and athletes with differences in sex development (DSD) to continue competing as they have been up until now.
“This preferred option would allow significant (although not full) reduction of anaerobic, aerobic performances and body composition changes, while still providing a path for eligibility of trans women and 46 XY DSD individuals to compete in the female category.”
The body added, "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."
Accordingly, the maximum permitted plasma testosterone in transwomen athletes will be halved to 2.5 nanomoles per litre (nmol/L) from the current five nmol/L.
Moreover, the said trans athletes will have to remain below this threshold for two years, compared to the one year right now.
Last year, British Triathlon became the first British sporting body to impose a sweeping ban on the participation of transgender athletes in the women's category. Instead, a new 'open' category was established for them to compete.
Similarly, swimming's international governing body FINA last year announced a ban on the participation of transgender athletes in women's competitions.
World Rugby, in 2020 became the first international sports federation to announce that transgender women cannot compete at the international level of women's game
The debate remains centered around fairness and inclusion, whether it is right to let transgender athletes participate in women's competitions.
Several studies have shown that males, upon reaching puberty, have increased muscle mass, bone density, and hemoglobin levels - all of which are significant contributors to performance.
Despite trans athletes going through different hormone therapies to reduce their level of testosterone, they still have an unfair advantage over biological females.