Budapest, Hungary – The World Swimming Governing Body has approved new rules for transgender athletes, allowing only swimmers who have turned 12 years of age to compete in women’s events.
At an extraordinary general meeting of the organization on Sunday, FINA members voted 71.5% in favor of the new “gender policy”. This applies 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 working group that will spend the next six months looking for the most effective ways to set up this new category.”
The vote came after members heard presentations from three expert groups: the Athlete Group, the Science and Medicine Group and the Legal and Human Rights Group, which are working together to formulate a policy following recommendations made by the International Olympic Committee last November.
The IOC called for a shift in focus from individual testosterone levels and for evidence to prove that a performance benefit exists.
In March, Leah Thomas made history in the United States as the first transgender woman to win the NCAA Swimming Championship. She won the 500-yard freestyle.
Other sports are also considering their rules.
On Thursday, the Cycling Governing Body updated its eligibility rules for transgender athletes with stricter limits, making riders have to wait longer before competing.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) has extended the transition period on low testosterone to two years and lowered the maximum approved testosterone level.
The previous transition period was 12 months, but recent scientific studies show that “expected adaptations in muscle mass and muscle strength / strength” in male-to-female athletes can take at least two years, according to UCI.