World swimming’s governing body has adopted new rules for transgender athletes, only allowing swimmers who transitioned before the age of 12 to compete in women’s events.
FINA members voted 71.5% in favor of the new “gender inclusion policy” at the organization’s Extraordinary General Congress on Sunday. It will apply to all its events from Monday.
The 24-page policy also includes proposals for a new “open competition” category. FINA said it was setting up “a new task force that will spend the next six months researching the most effective ways to create this new category.”
The vote took place after members heard presentations from three groups of specialists – an athlete group, a scientific and medical group and a legal and human rights group – who had worked together to develop the policy following the recommendations given by the International Olympic Committee last November.
The IOC urged shifting the focus from individual testosterone levels and asking for evidence to prove when a performance advantage existed.
In March, Lia Thomas made United States history by becoming the first transgender woman to win an NCAA swimming championship. She won the 500 yard freestyle.
Other sports have also reviewed their rules.
On Thursday, cycling’s governing body updated its eligibility rules for transgender athletes with stricter limits that will force riders to wait longer before they can compete.
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has increased the transition period for low testosterone to two years and lowered the maximum accepted level of testosterone.
The previous transition period was 12 months, but the UCI said recent scientific studies show that “expected adaptations in muscle mass and muscle strength/power” in athletes who transitioned from male to woman take at least two years.
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