Tom Daley ‘furious’ over FINA’s decision to restrict transgender athletes

Olympic diving champion Tom Daley said he was “furious” at governing body FINA’s decision to restrict the participation of transgender athletes in elite women’s competitions.

Daley, who came out as gay in 2013, was speaking at the British LGBT Awards on Friday, where he was named Sports Personality of the Year after winning gold in the 10m platform synchronized diving event at the Olympics from Tokyo.

Transgender rights have become a major talking point as the sport seeks to balance inclusivity while ensuring there is no unfair advantage.

“I was furious,” he said of FINA’s decision to bar athletes who have gone through part of male puberty from competing in elite women’s competition.

FINA also said it would create a working group to establish an “open” category for transgender athletes as part of its new policy, which covers swimming, diving, water polo, artistic swimming. , high level diving and open water swimming.

“You know, like most queer people, anybody who gets told they can’t compete or can’t do something they love just because of who they are, that’s not the case,” the 28-year-old told iNews.

“It’s something close to my heart. Giving trans people the chance to share their side.”

World Athletics and FIFA are among a number of governing bodies revising their guidelines on the involvement of transgender athletes following the ruling by FINA, which is the strictest of all Olympic sports bodies.

While FINA has engaged leading scientists in the working group that developed its rules, advocates of transgender inclusion say there are not yet enough studies on the impact of transgenderism. transition on physical performance.

Former Olympic medalist Sharron Davies, who is campaigning for a more restrictive policy, said FINA “stands for fair sport for women”.

“Swimming will always welcome everyone, no matter how you identify, but fairness is the cornerstone of sport.”

Meanwhile, UK Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries called on other sports governing bodies to do the same and said she was meeting Sport England on Tuesday as well as football, cricket, rugby, tennis and athletics to urge them to follow FINA’s decision.

“Sex has biological consequences,” she said. “I set a very clear line on this: competitive women’s sport should be for those born female. Not someone who was born male, took puberty blockers or suppressed testosterone, but unequivocally and definitely someone who was born a woman. I want all of our sports governing bodies to follow this policy.”

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