Fina votes to ban transgender swimmers from women’s elite events if they went through male puberty

Lia Thomas will no longer be eligible to compete

Swimming’s world governing body FINA has voted to ban athletes who have gone through male puberty from racing in women’s events.

In addition, FINA will set up a working group with a view to establishing an open competition category, open to athletes “without regard to their sex, their legal gender, or their gender identity”.

The sport’s new gender inclusion policy was passed by more than 70 per cent of member federations at an extraordinary congress during the ongoing World Championships in Budapest.

FINA president Husain Al-Musallam said: “We have to protect the rights of our athletes to compete, but we also have to protect competitive fairness at our events, especially the women’s category at FINA competitions.”

FINA’s 34-page policy document clarifies that male-to-female transgender athletes are still eligible to compete in the women’s category “provided they have not experienced any part of male puberty beyond Tanner Stage 2 [which marks the start of physical development], or before age 12, whichever is later”.

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The move means Lia Thomas, who in March became the first transgender swimmer to win a major US national college title, will be ineligible to compete in the women’s category with immediate effect.

FINA’s announcement comes two weeks after cycling’s governing body, the UCI, voted to double the period of time before a rider transitioning from male to female can compete.

PA

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