Swimmings world governing body (FINA) has decided to restrict the participation of transgender athletes in elite women’s competitions and created an “open” category for them in some events as part of its new policy.
The new policy will require transgender competitors to have completed their transition by the age of 12 to be able to compete in women’s competitions, FINA said in a statement on Sunday.
The decision was made during FINA’s general congress in Budapest. The vote, which was 71.5 percent in favour of the new policy, took place after Congress heard speeches from representatives of a working group that was set up in November 2021.
Now, FINA will establish a new working group that will spend the next six months looking at the most effective ways to set up this new category.
Commenting on the policy, FINA president Husain Al-Musallam said, “We have to protect the rights of our athletes to compete, but we also have to protect competitive fairness at our events, especially the women’s category at FINA competitions.”
“FINA will always welcome every athlete. 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,” the FINA president added.
The new FINA gender inclusion policy comes into effect on June 20, 2022.