Swimming-FINA to vote on transgender policy on Sunday


FILE PHOTO: Mar 19, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Penn Quakers swimmer Lia Thomas swims the 100 free at the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships at Georgia Tech. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

SYDNEY (Reuters) -FINA will vote on a new policy regarding transgender swimmers at an extraordinary general congress in Budapest on Sunday, the global governing body of swimming said.

The regulations could have a major impact on the career of American Lia Thomas, the first known transgender woman to win a NCAA Division I title in the female class.

The congress will hear a report from a transgender task force comprised of "leading medical, legal and sports" figures and then vote on the new inclusion policy, a FINA spokesman said.

The issue of transgender inclusion in sport is highly divisive, particularly in the United States where it has become a weapon in the so-called "culture war" between conservatives and progressives.

Opponents to transgender athletes in women's sport, which include British former Olympic medallist Sharron Davies, maintain that anyone who goes through male puberty will always have a major physical advantage over women.

Advocates for transgender inclusion argue that not enough studies have yet been done on the impact of transition on physical performance, and that elite athletes are often physical outliers in any case.

Cycling's global governing body this week amended its rules on transgender participation.

The UCI doubled the period before transgender athletes are allowed to move from one sex class to another from 12 to 24 months and halved the maximum permitted testosterone level to 2.5 nmol/L.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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