World Triathlon allows trans athletes to continue competing in female events despite British ban

British Triathlon has previously said trans women would not be able to compete against athletes born female in their events

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World Triathlon has said it will continue to allow transgender athletes to compete in female events despite Britain’s governing body banning it.

Last month, British Triathlon said trans women will not be able to compete against athletes born female in triathlon events in Britain from the start of next year.

They said competition at elite and grassroots level from the age of 12 and over will be split into a female category and an open category, which will welcome male, transgender and non-binary athletes.

But now World Triathlon, announcing fresh rules, has ruled that it will allow trans athletes to race against elite women but only if there is a four-year gap since they took part in male events.

A triathlon event at the Commonwealth Games
A triathlon event at the Commonwealth Games
British Triathlon has previously banned trans women from competing in female events
British Triathlon has previously banned trans women from competing in female events

While their testosterone levels must have remained below 2.5nmol/L for a minimum of two years, the new rules state.

Speaking after their ruling to ban trans women last month, British Triathlon chief executive Andy Salmon said: “It would be conceited of us to say there isn’t a little bit of trepidation, but we firmly and passionately believe in doing what’s right for our sport, not necessarily what’s easy, or even what’s popular.

“We recognise some people might disagree with this policy. I think we’re very clear about that and I, and the board, and the organisation, respect everybody’s point of view on this subject. But we think it’s the right thing to do.

“We strongly believe that triathlon is a sport for anyone. Our sport was founded relatively late, in the 1970s, and with gender equity at its core.

“This is something that we’re incredibly proud of and incredibly precious about. And this is one of the reasons why fairness in our sport is so important to us.”

Mr Salmon said the new policy was “legally robust” based on the advice the organisation had received.

Swimming’s world governing body FINA also voted to ban athletes who have gone through male puberty from racing in women’s events in June.

In addition, FINA will set up a working group with a view to establishing an open competition category, open to athletes “without regard to their sex, their legal gender, or their gender identity”.