Swimming’s world governing body FINA votes to block transgender athletes from competing in elite women’s competitions

Swimming’s world governing body, FINA, has voted to block transgender athletes from competing in elite women’s competitions.

The new policy will only allow transgender competitors if they have completed their transition before the age of 12, thus barring any athlete who has gone through part of the process of male puberty.

Transgender athletes will no longer be able to compete in elite women’s races, unless they have completed their transition at the age of 12

FINA has also decided to create a working group to establish a new “open” category for swimmers whose gender identity is different from their birth sex.

The decision was taken at the extraordinary general congress of FINA on Sunday during the world championships in Budapest.

It came after members heard a report from a transgender task force made up of leading medical, legal and sports figures.

The vote passed with a 71% majority of FINA’s 152 members.

“FINA’s approach in writing this policy was comprehensive, scientific and inclusive, and most importantly, FINA’s approach emphasized competitive fairness,” said Brent Nowicki, Executive Director of the governing body.

Swimming's world governing body FINA votes to block transgender athletes from competing in elite women's competitions
FINA will create a new “open” category

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said in May that sport cannot have a one-size-fits-all approach to transgender inclusion.

He told a press conference last month: “There is no one-size-fits-all solution. I think we all agree that it’s about creating fair competition. At the local level, sport must be inclusive, everyone must have access to sport.

“When it comes to competition as a sport, we have to ensure fair competition. This means finding sport by sport, or even discipline by discipline, where there may be an unfair advantage.

“You cannot compare an equestrian athlete with a weightlifter for example. You can’t even compare in athletics a hammer thrower with a 5,000 meter runner.

“And that’s why the IOC has established guidelines, how to make that decision, how to assess where there may be an unfair advantage and where there isn’t.

“And these guidelines, they say very clearly that all these decisions must be based on scientific evidence.

“That is the approach, and now we are in contact with different international federations to give them the necessary interpretations whenever they need it, to also provide them with the names of experts that they can consult.


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