Olympics: Transgender athletes will not be allowed to compete

Image copyright AFP Image caption In the US there is no gender classification in sport International Olympic Committee (IOC) has revised its guidelines on transgender athletes to prevent the selection of athletes with non-existent…

Olympics: Transgender athletes will not be allowed to compete

Image copyright AFP Image caption In the US there is no gender classification in sport

International Olympic Committee (IOC) has revised its guidelines on transgender athletes to prevent the selection of athletes with non-existent gender.

The change follows an incident at the Winter Olympics in Sochi where a transgender Russian wrestler defeated a European champion from Denmark in the Olympic semi-finals.

The wrestler, Ekaterina Poistogova, won Olympic gold when it was discovered she had undergone reassignment surgery and was not considered male in the sport.

The IOC has started a procedure to review the criteria for determining gender.

The governing body, which has responsibility for the Olympics, says it would have ruled Poistogova out of the Games had the International Association of Athletics Federations had required her to be of the same gender for the qualification period.

“Concerns have been raised that the Olympic Winter Games 2016 could have produced a different result had the relevant IOC regulations been applied in full,” it said in a statement.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption The rules allow transgender athletes to compete as a man or a woman, but only in the corresponding gender category

It added: “IOC will review the documentation related to the above case and consult with relevant sporting organisations on a timetable for adoption of the revised guidelines.”

The current rules in competition read: “The IOC does not recognise any athlete with a change of sex (nontransitioning), and no athlete may claim that he/she has obtained any other qualification status other than the corresponding gender category.”

Olympic athletes must prove they are of the same gender before the start of competition and there is no gender classification in sport.

In November 2015, the IOC found its own rules not compliant with a 1999 requirement in the London Olympic Charter and announced it would revise the requirement.

For the first time ever, the competition rules are being re-examined with the aim of ensuring “gender equality at the Olympic Games”.

The IOC wants athletes to be identified according to their preferred gender or sex before each competition.

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