Athletics chief Coe backs FINA as swimming changes stance on transgender issue

By Sports Desk June 20, 2022

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said swimming's global governing body was acting in its "best interest" by launching measures that will see transgender women banned from racing against elite female competitors.

FINA [Federation Internationale de Natation] announced on Sunday that it would bar all transgender women who had experienced any stage of male puberty from racing in women's events.

It marked a distinct shift in policy for a major sport and was welcomed by long-time campaigners, including the British former Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies.

There have been calls for other sports to following swimming's example and move away from eligibility policies that are based on testosterone limits; however, LGBT advocacy groups have strongly criticised FINA's move.

US-based group Athlete Ally said FINA's restrictions were "discriminatory, harmful, unscientific and not in line with the 2021 IOC [International Olympic Committee] principles".

The swimming authority said the regulation had been voted in by a 71.5 per cent majority after FINA commission members heard from an athletes' group, a science and medicine group, and a legal and human rights group.

Athletics has yet to commit to a similar policy, but Coe's indication of support for FINA's position points to that being a possibility in the future.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Coe said: "We see an international federation asserting its primacy in setting rules, regulations and policies that are in the best interest of its sport.

"This is as it should be. We have always believed that biology trumps gender and we will continue to review our regulations in line with this. We will follow the science.

"We continue to study, research and contribute to the growing body of evidence that testosterone is a key determinant in performance, and have scheduled a discussion on our regulations with our council at the end of the year."

 

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