Transgender-identifying sprinter Halba Diouf, a biological male who claims to be a woman, fumed over World Athletics’ decision to ban biological males from competing against women in the Summer 2024 Paris Olympics.
The French native began transgender procedures in 2021 and planned on competing in the women’s 200-meter race but is now barred from the competition.
“I cannot understand this decision as transgender women have always been allowed to compete if their testosterone levels were below a certain threshold,” Diouf claimed in an interview. “The only safeguard transgender women have is their right to live as they wish, and we are being refused that, we are being hounded … I feel marginalized because they are excluding me from competitions.”
The World Athletics Council announced back in March that it would no longer allow transgender athletes to compete against women in female World Rankings competitions.
The move, which went into effect at the start of April, banned “male-to-female transgender athletes who have been through male puberty.”
“Decisions are always difficult when they involve conflicting needs and rights between different groups, but we continue to take the view that we must maintain fairness for female athletes above all other considerations,” said World Athletics President Sebastian Coe. “We will be guided in this by the science around physical performance and male advantage which will inevitably develop over the coming years. As more evidence becomes available, we will review our position, but we believe the integrity of the female category in athletics is paramount.”
The organization said that it consulted with Member Federations, the Global Athletics Coaches Academy and Athletes’ Commission, and the IOC when making its decision and that there was “little support within the sport for the option that was first presented to stakeholders, which required transgender athletes to maintain their testosterone levels below 2.5nmol/L for 24 months to be eligible to compete internationally in the female category.”
World Athletics is the international governing body for sprints, middle/long, hurdles, road running, jumps, throws, combined events, race walks, relays, cross country, mountain running, ultra running, and trail running.
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“There are currently no transgender athletes competing internationally in athletics and consequently no athletics-specific evidence of the impact these athletes would have on the fairness of female competition in athletics,” the organization said at the time. “In these circumstances, the Council decided to prioritise fairness and the integrity of the female competition before inclusion.”