Lia Thomas is BANNED from competing against women: World swimming’s governing body rules transgender athletes who went through male puberty cannot take part in female races and it will set up a separate ‘open category’
- Husnain Al-Musallam, president of FINA, announced the news on Sunday
- He said 'I don’t want any athlete to be told they cannot compete at highest level’
- A separate open category will be created for swimming competitions in future
Lia Thomas, the transgender swimmer who broke women’s records this year, will be banned from competing against women in professional matches.
FINA, the international federation sports federation for swimming, announced on Sunday that it is changing its policies so that transgender women can only compete in women’s races if they have completed their transition by the age of 12.
It is now setting up an ‘open category’ for transgender athletes to compete against one another.
Such a policy would prevent Thomas from competing in the Olympics, which she has expressed her desire for after smashed women’s records and causing an uproar across the United States, with many arguing that she has an unfair physical advantage over her fellow competitors.
The decision to ban transgender athletes was made during FINA’s extraordinary general congress on the sidelines of the world championships in Budapest after members heard a report from a transgender task force comprising leading medical, legal and sports figures.
Husain Al-Musallam, president of FINA, announced the news on Sunday afternoon.
‘I do not want any athlete to be told they cannot compete at the highest level,’ Al-Musallam told a congress of his organization today.
'I will set up a working group to set up an open category at our meets.
‘We will be the first federation to do that.’
The new policy will require transgender competitors to have completed their transition by the age of 12 in order to be able to compete in women’s competitions.
It was passed with a 71 percent majority after it was put to the members of 152 national federations with voting rights who had gathered for the congress at the Puskas Arena.
Around 15 percent voted no to the policy on eligibility in the men’s and women’s competition categories, while 13 percent abstained.