Fina toughens protocols and bar for swimmers who have transitioned after puberty
THE Slim (International Swimming Federation) published this Sunday (June 19, 2022) the new guidelines for transgender athletes in sport. The entity barred swimmers who passed through the gender transition at an advanced age from participating in women’s competitions. read the intact of the press release (333 KB).
According to the federation, to enter the tournaments, athletes need to prove that 1) started hormonal suppression before puberty; two) who did it as soon as the bodily changes began to appear; or 3) before they turn 12 years old. They also need to have maintained low testosterone levels since then.
The rules were approved by 71.5% of the members of the federation’s congress. The vote came after the presentation of the results of the survey by the working group formed in November 2021 to discuss the impact of trans athletes on women’s swimming.
“We have to protect our athletes’ rights to compete, but we also have to protect competitive fairness in our events, especially the women’s category in Fina competitions.”said the president of the federation, Husain Al-Musallam.
The guidelines only apply to competitions held by Fina, such as the adult and youth world championships. On Saturday (June 18), the long-distance world championship started in Budapest (Hungary). There are no transgender women at the event.
In the case of continental and national tournaments, the rules of the local federations apply. At NCAA –association that manages college sports in the United States– the case of Lia Thomas has recently gained repercussion.
Lia started the hormonal transition in 2019, at the age of 19. Until then, she had competed in the men’s NCAA events, ranking 65th in the national 500-yard freestyle rankings. After the transition, she was champion of the women’s test in the university championship.
Lia’s performances led to criticism from college athletes. A letter released by 16 swimmers’ parents states that Lia’s presence in women’s swimming was “unfair” and “harmful” for the sport. After her victory in the NCAA tournament in 2021, the rivals who completed the podium refused to share the pulpit with the athlete from the University of Pennsylvania.
The NCAA allows the federations of each sport to decide on the participation of trans athletes. USA Swimming (the professional swimming federation of the USA) judges the cases individually.
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