West News Wire: Regardless of their testosterone levels, transgender women will no longer be permitted to compete in female track and field events, according to World Athletics President Sebastian Coe.

Coe announced that as of March 31 no female transgender athlete who had experienced male puberty would be allowed to compete in female global ranking competitions.

Coe said World Athletics had conferred with stakeholders, including 40 national federations, the International Olympic Committee, and trans groups, regarding the subject of transgender athletes during a meeting of the global track and field federation’s governing body on Thursday.

According to the vast majority of persons surveyed, transgender athletes shouldn’t compete in the female division, he added.

“Many believe there is insufficient evidence that transwomen do not retain advantage over biological women and want more evidence that any physical advantages have been ameliorated before they are willing to consider an option for inclusion into the female category.”

He added: “The judgement we took was, I believe, in the best interests of our sport.”

Coe said a working group headed by a transgender person would be created to further monitor scientific developments.

“We’re not saying ‘no’ forever,” Coe said.

“We continue to take the view that we must maintain fairness for female athletes above all other considerations,” he said. “We will be guided in this by the science around physical performance and male advantage, which will inevitably develop over the coming years. As more evidence becomes available, we will review our position, but we believe the integrity of the female category in athletics is paramount.”

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World Athletics said it became apparent that there is “little support within the sport” for an option that was presented to stakeholders that required transgender athletes to maintain their testosterone levels below 2.5 nanomoles per litre of blood for 24 months to be eligible to compete internationally in the female category.

“There are currently no transgender athletes competing internationally in athletics and consequently no athletics-specific evidence of the impact these athletes would have on the fairness of female competition in athletics,” the World Athletics Council said in a statement. “In these circumstances, the Council decided to prioritise fairness and the integrity of the female competition before inclusion.”

The council also voted to tighten restrictions on athletes with Differences in Sex Development (DSD).

Under the new regulations, DSD athletes will have to reduce their amount of blood testosterone to below 2.5 nanomoles per litre, down from the current level of 5, and remain below this threshold for two years rather than just one, as is the case now, to compete in the female category.

The most high-profile DSD athlete is double Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya of South Africa.

Semenya has been trying to compete in longer events. She finished 13th in her qualifying heat at 5,000 meters at the world championships last year.

To compete at next year’s Olympics, she would have to undergo hormone-suppressing treatment for six months, something she has said she will never do again, having undergone the treatment a decade ago under previous rules.


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