President of World Athletics, Lord Sebastian Coe, has confirmed the athletics governing body has banned transgender women from competing in women’s international events. 

From 31 March, transgender women will not be able to compete in major female athletic competitions as the sporting organisation cited problems with transgender women holding more blood testosterone than the average female competitor, creating an unfair advantage. 

Under the previous ruling, transgender women competing in female sports were not to exceed a blood testosterone limit of 5 nmol/L, and were expected to keep within these parameters for a 12 month period. 

Lord Coe stated that the decision from World Athletics was ’guided by the overarching principle which is to protect the female category’, but did outline that the decision may not be forever. 

He continued: “Decisions are always difficult when they involve conflicting needs and rights between different groups, but we continue to take the view that we must maintain fairness for female athletes above all other considerations. 

“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.”

The World Athletics council has set up a working group that will undergo research into the eligibility of transgender people partaking in athletic competition further down the road. 

Moreover, the council also agreed upon a vote that would limit the amount of blood testosterone of athletes with Differences in Sex Development (DSD) – a condition that can be a mix of male/female characteristics, often referred to as ‘intersex’. 

Under a new ruling, DSD athletes will be required to keep their blood testosterone to within 2.5 nmol/L, which was previously 5 nmol/L, and keep within the limit for over two years to compete in athletic competition. 

Transgender women competing in female competitions have previously received criticism from many within the athletic world, citing unfair advantages as they hold higher testosterone levels from previous male hormones. 

This was apparent when New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, a transgender woman who transitioned in her 30s, qualified for the Tokyo Olympics

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