World Athletics has banned transgender women who have undergone male puberty from competing in female world ranking competitions as of March 31. The governing body’s decision is guided by the principle of protecting the female category. Under previous guidelines, transgender women were required to maintain a blood testosterone level below 5nmol/L continuously for a year before competing in the female category.

A working group will be established to carry out further research on transgender eligibility guidelines. World Athletics President, Lord Coe, stated that they are not permanently rejecting transgender women from competing in the female category, but they must wait until more evidence becomes available on physical performance and male advantage. Lord Coe acknowledged that making decisions involving conflicting needs and rights between different groups is always challenging. However, he reiterated that they must prioritize maintaining fairness for female athletes above all other considerations. Currently, there are no transgender athletes competing internationally in the sport, said the news report.

World Athletics Council has decided to establish a working group to delve further into the topic of transgender inclusion. The working group will have the responsibility of seeking the views of transgender athletes on the issue and commissioning research to review. The group will also put forward recommendations to the Council. Representatives from the health and science department, up to three council members, the chairperson, two Athletes’ Commission athletes, a transgender athlete, and three member federation representatives will comprise the working group.

The World Athletics Council voted to lower the blood testosterone allowed for athletes with differences in sex development (DSD) to below 2.5 nmol/L for two years to compete internationally in the female category. Interim provisions will be introduced for DSD athletes already competing in unrestricted events, requiring them to keep their testosterone levels below 2.5nmol/L for six months. Thirteen DSD athletes will be affected, and none will participate in the World Athletics Championships in August. Caster Semenya, who won 800m Olympic gold in 2012 and 2016, has not been able to compete since 2019.

World Athletics has abandoned its proposal to tighten rules around transgender women competing in elite women’s sports. In January, the organization suggested that transgender women should be permitted to compete but only after they reduced their blood testosterone levels below 2.5nmol/L for two years. However, the proposal failed to gain support among key stakeholders, including member federations, athletes, coaches, and the International Olympic Committee.

The ongoing debate surrounding transgender inclusion in women’s sports has focused on concerns around fairness and safety. Some argue that transgender athletes may retain advantages that could compromise sporting fairness, while others advocate for greater inclusivity. The issue is complex, with many factors to consider when seeking to balance the interests of all stakeholders involved.


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