The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has issued its final say on transgender athletes competing in women’s prestigious races, and the verdict is a restriction on transgender competitors.
FINA governs competitions including: swimming; diving; artistic; swimming; water polo; diving and high diving.
The new policy, which comes into effect on 20 June, restricts any transgender athletes wishing to compete in women’s elite competitions if they have undergone “any part of the process of male puberty,” as BBC Sport records.
Competitors who transitioned before age 12, or before stage two on the puberty Tanner Scale will still be allowed to compete, as per CNN.
There was a 71.5% membership vote from FINA members. The deciding group was formed following November pleas on the matter of transgender participation. It consisted of three sub-groups; namely an athlete group, a science and medicine group, as well as a legal and human rights group, said FINA.
However, FINA believes that this is a step towards inclusion. The gender inclusion policy has been premised to establish an ‘open category’ for transgender swimmers.
FINA President Husain Al-Musallam commented on the decision stating that: “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 will always welcome every athlete. The creation of an open category will mean that everybody has the opportunity to compete at an elite level. This has not been done before, so FINA will need to lead the way. I want all athletes to feel included in being able to develop ideas during this process,” Al-Musallam added.