World Athletics restricts transgender people from female events.

Athletes like two-time Olympic champion Caster Semenya will find it difficult to compete under the new rules.

Under rules adopted on March 24, 2023, South African runner Caster Semenya would have to undergo hormone-suppressing treatment (File: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

Transgender women will no longer permitted to participate in female track. Also in field events, regardless of testosterone levels, according to World Athletics President Sebastian Coe.

From March 31, no female transgender athletes who gone through male puberty would be allowed to participate in female world ranking competitions, according to Coe.

Following a meeting of the global track and field federation’s decision-making body on Thursday, Coe stated that World Athletics had consulted with stakeholders on the problem of transgender athletes, including 40 national federations, the International Olympic Committee, and Tran’s groups.

“The vast majority of those polled agreed that transgender athletes should not compete in the female category,” he said.

“Many believe there is insufficient evidence that transwomen retain an advantage over biological women. Want more evidence that any physical advantages have mitigated before considering an option for inclusion into the female category.”

“The decision we took… was, I believe, in the best interests of our sport,” he added.

“Not saying ‘no’ forever”

Coe stated that a working group led by a transgender person would be formed to closely monitor scientific advances.

“We’re not saying ‘no’ forever,” Coe said.

“We continue to believe that fairness for female athletes must take precedence over all other considerations,” he said. “We will guided by the science of fitness and male advantage, which will inevitably develop in the coming years.” We will reconsider our stance as more evidence becomes available, but we think the integrity of the female athletic category is paramount.”

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe.

According to World Athletics, it became clear that there is “little support within the sport” for a proposal made to stakeholders that will be require transgender athletes to keep their testosterone levels below 2.5 nanomoles per liter of blood for 24 months in order to compete internationally in the female category.

Tighter rules for athletes with DSD

The council also decided to tighten limits on athletes with Sex Development Differences. (DSD).

To participate in the female category, DSD athletes will have to lower their blood testosterone level to less than 2.5 nanomoles per liter, down from the current level of 5, and stay below this level for two years, rather than just one, as is the case now.

The most high-profile DSD athlete is double Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya of South Africa.

Semenya has been attempting to participate in longer distance events. Last year, she placed 13th in her 5,000-meter qualifying heat at the World Championships.

To compete in next year’s Olympics, she would have to endure hormone-suppressing treatment for six months. Which she has stated she will never do again after undergoing the treatment under previous rules a decade ago.

LGBTQ+ groups opposed this decision

LGBTQ+ organizations such as Stonewall expected to oppose World Athletics’ decision. They urged sports to be as inclusive as feasible last month. “The trans population may be small, but they have every right to participate in sports and reap the many physical, mental, and community benefits that sports provide,” the statement said. “The scientific evidence base on transgender athletes in sports is growing, but it is far from conclusive.”

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