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."

 

Allyson Felix will retire at the end of the season as the most decorated female in the history of athletics.

After claiming gold and bronze in the 400m and 4x400m relay respectively at the Tokyo Olympics, the 36-year-old will retire having won 11 Olympic medals including seven gold.

In November 2018, Felix gave birth via emergency Caesarian at 32 weeks, but returned to the track less than a year later to become the most successful athlete in World Championships history.

Felix has the potential to add to her 13 world titles at this year's World Championships in Oregon in June

"As a little girl they called chicken legs, never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined a career like this," Felix wrote in an Instagram post.

"I have so much gratitude for this sport that has changed my life. I have given everything I have to running and for the first time I'm not sure I have anything left to give.

"I want to say goodbye and thank you to the people who have helped shape me the only way I know – with one last run."

In 2019, Felix contested the issue of maternity pay after revealing in the New York Times that sponsors Nike wanted to reduce her pay by 70 per cent once she became a mother. 

"This season isn't about the time on the clock, it's simply about joy," she said.

"This season, I'm running for women. I'm running for a better future for my daughter. I'm running for you."

The IAAF Diamond League begins in May in Doha.

Lamine Diack, the disgraced former president of World Athletics has died of natural causes at the age of 88, according to multiple reports.

World 200 metres bronze medallist Alex Quinonez has died at the age of 32 after reportedly being shot in Guayaquil.

The Ecuadorian sports ministry said Quinonez was found dead in the street on Friday.

Quinonez made history when he became the Ecuadorian athlete to win a global medal in a track event at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, and he held national records at every sprint distance.

The sports ministry tweeted: "With great sadness, we confirm the murder of our sportsman Alex Quinonez.

"We have lost a great sportsman, someone who allowed us to dream, who moved us....he was the greatest sprinter this country produced."

Spanish football club Barcelona said Quinonez had been a part of the athletics squad in their wider sporting set-up.

Ecuador president Guillermo Lasso tweeted on Saturday: "We are very sorry for the painful loss of Alex Quinonez, father, son, a great sprinter. Our sincere condolences to his loved ones. Rest in peace.

"Those who take the lives of Ecuadorians will not go unpunished. We will act forcefully."

Colombia's world and Olympic 400m silver medallist Anthony Zambrano, a training partner of Quinonez's, posted on social media: "Brother, I cannot believe it’s true.

"We do not deserve this. What awful news. It's a shame that life is such, but to die one has to be alive. You are great and I will always cherish you in my heart."

Barcelona stated: "Alex Quinonez had been an FC Barcelona athlete for three years since 2018."

The club's athletics technical director Vicente Egido said: "The whole athletics community is shocked by this news. Alex was an excellent person and very much a Barca man, and who was highly committed to competing, and enjoying competing, for Barca."

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