Triathlon has become the first British sport to ban all transgender women from competing in elite and grassroots women’s events.
- Transgender women are banned from competing in elite and grassroots women’s triathlon events
- British Triathlon is changing its men’s category to the ‘Open’
- New policy will be implemented in January, replacing old guidelines
- This follows a decision by swimming’s world governing body, FINA, to ban trans women through male puberty from competing against women.
Triathlon becomes first British sport to ban all transgender Women participating in elite and grassroots women’s events.
Instead British triathlons are changing their men’s category to an ‘open’ in which all trans athletes can enter – a first by a national governing body.
The new policy goes into effect in January and replaces the old guidelines set in 2018, which allowed trans women to compete against women if they had suppressed their testosterone.
British Triathlon CEO Andy Salmon said: “We have concluded that triathlon is a gender-influenced sport and this means that athletes who are born male have an advantage over athletes who are born female and that The advantage is significant in swimming, biking and running.” ‘We also concluded that physiological benefits are retained by testosterone suppression.
The new policy will require two categories – a women’s category, open to athletes who are of female sex at birth, and an open category, open to all athletes, including men and transgender athletes.
British Triathlon has banned all transgender women from participating in women’s events. Pictured are athletes from Team France at last month’s World Triathlon Series event in Leeds
The ban will be applicable from January in both elite level competitions and grassroots level
What does swimming do and how is it different?
Swimming’s world governing body FINA announced on 19 June that athletes who have gone through any part of male puberty will be barred from elite women’s competition. Instead the game will try to create an ‘open’ category for now transgender female competitor.
Meanwhile, British Triathlon has implemented its ban on both the sport’s elite and grassroots levels from January 2023.
The triathlon ban applied to any athlete who was a ‘born male’.
‘For international competition, only athletes who are of the female sex at birth will be eligible to represent Great Britain, England, Scotland or Wales in women’s competition.
‘We believe this is the right policy for our sport in Great Britain. We are incredibly proud and precious about our tradition, and our core principle of gender equality, and this is why fairness is so important in our sport.
‘We have taken strong legal advice and believe our policy is legally sound.’
The new rules – which follow a survey of members earlier this year that included 16 trans athletes – will be implemented at any ‘competitive event’ at all levels, which means races that include those over the age of 12. Has timing and consequences for athletes.
British Triathlon’s announcement comes a week after Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries called a trans summit, urging all sport governing bodies to ban trans athletes from competing against women.
And it follows a decision by swimming’s world governing body, FINA, to ban trans women through male puberty from competing against women in international races.
“This is a topic that many, many governing bodies are discussing and considering what to do,” Salmon said.
The announcement came a week after Nadine Dorries called for the ban.
Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas has been the subject of controversy over the past six months, and FINA last month banned trans women from competing in international races.
‘I think the whole game system will focus on doing the right thing just like us.’
The row for transgender athletes in the sport has grown in recent months following the cases of America’s Lia Thomas in swimming and Britain’s Emily Bridges in cycling – two of the three disciplines that make up triathlons.
Salmon said he was not ‘aware’ of any elite-level transgender triathletes in the UK – but added: ‘We didn’t want to be a governing body that waited for a problem to happen before trying to fix it’ was doing.
‘We don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow or the next day, and we wanted to be prepared for that day.’