Swimming’s international governing body, FINA, announced Sunday a new policy restricting transgender athletes from competing in women’s elite races.
The new policy states that transgender swimmers must have completed their transition by 12 years old and maintain a circulating testosterone level of below 2.5 nmol/L to compete in women’s competitions, The Washington Post reported.
FINA approved the policy with 71% of the vote from members of the 152 eligible national federations at a congress during the world championships in Budapest.
In a statement, FINA said the policy will take effect on Monday.
The decision would bar many transgender swimmers, including Pennsylvania’s Lia Thomas, the first openly transgender woman to win an NCAA Division I swimming title, from participating in FINA events. Thomas has expressed interest in competing in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
FINA said it heard a report from “leading science, medical and legal experts” as well as athletes Cate Campbell and Summer Sanders.
“FINA’s approach in drafting this policy was comprehensive, science-based and inclusive, and importantly, FINA’s approach emphasized competitive fairness,” FINA director Brent Nowicki told the BBC.
The organization said it would also work to create an “open” category for swimmers whose gender identity differs from their sex within the next six months.
“FINA will always welcome every athlete,” FINA President Husain Al-Musallam said. “The creation of an open category will mean that everybody has the opportunity to compete at an elite level. This has not been done before, so FINA will need to lead the way. I want all athletes to feel included in being able to develop ideas during this process.”
Copyright 2022 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.