- World Aquatics announced a new category for transgender athletes last year.
- The ‘open’ races were eliminated as they did not receive registrations for the World Cup
- Despite the lack of interest, we will look to include an open category in the future.
The first “open” races for transgender swimmers have been canceled after no entries were received for this week’s World Cup in Berlin.
World Aquatics last year announced the new category for athletes whose gender identity is different from their birth sex after banning transgender women from competing in elite women’s events.
The open category will be introduced for the first time in Berlin with 50 and 100 meter races in all styles as part of what the governing body called a “pioneering pilot project.”
However, World Aquatics announced Tuesday that no swimmers had entered the events, forcing them to rethink their policy for elite meets.
“Following the close of registration for open category competitions, World Aquatics can confirm that no entries have been received for open category events,” they said in a statement.
The first ‘open’ races for transgender swimmers were scrapped after World Aquatics received no entries, despite launching the new category following its dispute with Lia Thomas (above).
The category was introduced for the first time at this week’s World Cup meeting in Berlin.
‘The World Aquatics Open Category Working Group will continue its work and commitment to the aquatic community in open category events. Even if there is currently no demand at the elite level, the working group plans to consider the possibility of including open category races in masters events in the future.’
World Aquatics changed its policy last year in the wake of the dispute involving American Lia Thomas, who became the first known transgender swimmer to win America’s highest national collegiate title.
Other sports such as athletics and cycling followed swimming in preventing transgender women from competing in the women’s category, but World Aquatics is the first to try to organize a third category separate from the men’s and women’s events.
The World Cup in Berlin starts on Friday and will see Britain’s three-time Olympic champion Adam Peaty compete for the first time since March following his break to focus on his mental health.
The governing body, led by president Husain Al-Musallam (above), described the new open category as a “pioneering pilot project” when it was launched by World Aquatics last year.
Thomas was the first known transgender swimmer to win the US’s highest national collegiate title.