New rules will also make it difficult for athletes like two-time Olympic champion Caster Semenya to compete.
Transgender women will no longer be allowed to compete in female athletic events, regardless of their testosterone levels, says Sebastian Coe, president of World Athletics.
No transgender female athlete who had gone through male puberty would be allowed to compete in world women’s ranking competitions as of March 31, Coe said.
At a meeting of the global athletics federation’s decision-making body on Thursday, Coe said World Athletics had consulted with stakeholders, including 40 national federations, the International Olympic Committee and trans groups on the issue of transgender athletes.
“The majority of those consulted stated that transgender athletes should not compete in the female category,” he said.
“Many believe there is insufficient evidence that trans women do not retain an advantage over biological women and want more evidence that any physical advantages have improved before they are willing to consider an option for inclusion in the female category.”
He added: “The judgment we made … was, I believe, in the best interest of our sport.”
“Don’t say ‘no’ forever”
Coe said a working group led by a transgender person would be set up to further monitor scientific developments.
“We’re not saying ‘no’ forever,” Coe said.
“We continue to take the position that we must uphold fairness for female athletes above all other considerations,” he said. “We will be guided by the science of physical performance and male benefits, which will inevitably evolve over the next few years. As more evidence becomes available, we will review our position, but we believe the integrity of the female category in athletics is paramount.”
World Athletics said it was becoming clear there is “little support within the sport” for an option presented to stakeholders that would require transgender athletes to keep their testosterone levels below 2.5 nanomoles per liter of blood for 24 months in order to be eligible to participate. 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 athletics competitions,” the World Athletics Council said in a statement. “Under these circumstances, the Council has decided to prioritize fairness and the integrity of the female competition before inclusion.”
Stricter rules for athletes with DSD
The council also voted to tighten restrictions on athletes with Differences in Sex Development (DSD).
Under the new regulations, DSD athletes will have to lower their testosterone levels in the blood to less than 2.5 nanomoles per litre, from the current level of 5, and stay below this threshold for two years instead of just one year as now the case is. to compete in the women’s category.
The most talked about DSD athlete is two-time Olympic champion in the 800 metres, Caster Semenya from South Africa.
Semenya has tried to compete in longer events. At last year’s world championships, she finished 13th in her 5,000 meter qualifying heat.
To compete in next year’s Olympics, she would have to undergo hormone-suppressing treatment for six months, something she will never do again, having undergone the treatment a decade ago under the previous rules.