Rowing-British Rowing calls for creation of 'open' category for transgender athletes


(Reuters) - The chair of British Rowing has called on the sport's world governing body to follow swimming's lead and create an "open" category for transgender athletes.

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

World swimming's governing body FINA voted in June to restrict the participation of transgender athletes in elite women's competitions and create a working group to establish an "open" category.

World Rowing allows an athlete who was male at birth to compete in the female category if they reduce their testosterone to below 5 nanomoles per litre for 12 months.

"At British Rowing, we are about to publish an update to our transgender policy which will bring it in line with World Rowing's," British Rowing chair Mark Davies said at the World Rowing Congress.

"World Rowing is less protective of women's sport than some other international federations such as FINA, which has adopted a policy of having open and women's categories ...

"Would World Rowing look at its policy out of concern that there is a threat to the hard-fought-for progress in women's sport and consider following FINA's lead?"

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

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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