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Monday, April 22, 2024
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World Athletics Issues Bans On Russian, Belarusian, Trans Women Athletes

  • World Athletics ruled that transgender women cannot compete in female-only competitions.
  • The decision will impact the Summer Olympics.
Olympic rings are on display ahead of the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games.
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The battle over trans rights has reached the Olympics.

World Athletics — the international governing body which oversees track and field, cross country running, and other running competitions in elite events, including the Olympics — issued rulings on Russia, Belarus, and transgender athletes.

The regulations bar athletes who have been through “male puberty” from competing in female-only competitions. 

“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.

He added “we will review our position” as evidence becomes available.

The NWSL currently only permits people who were born female at birth to play in its league, but commissioner Jessica Berman said last week that the league is reviewing that policy and will likely make an announcement on it in the coming months.

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Russia, Belarus Banned

World Athletics is also banning athletes who are citizens of Russia and Belarus over the invasion of Ukraine. Those countries are prohibited from hosting events and attending, speaking, and voting at the World Athletics congress. 

“The unprecedented sanctions imposed on Russia and Belarus by countries and industries all over the world appear to be the only peaceful way to disrupt and disable Russia’s current intentions and restore peace,” said Coe. 

“The death and destruction we have seen in Ukraine over the past year, including the deaths of some 185 athletes, have only hardened my resolve on this matter.”

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