In an effort to “protect the female category,” World Athletics deemed back in late March that trans runners were ineligible to participate in the 2024 Summer Olympics hosted in Paris.
Upon the announcement, Halba Diouf, a now-former Olympic hopeful from France, expressed frustration and disappointment on the ruling to Reuters.
“I cannot understand this decision as transgender women have always been allowed to compete if their testosterone levels were below a certain threshold. The only safeguard transgender women have is their right to live as they wish, and we are being refused that, we are being hounded. … I feel marginalized because they are excluding me from competitions,” Diouf said.
Originally, rules were set that trans women and runners with differences in sex development could compete in races between the 400m and the mile if natural plasma testosterone levels were under five nanomoles per liter. Shorter races composed of the 100m and 200m were free for all athletes.
In the latest update, these standards were gutted by half to 2.5 nanomoles, with the new allotted levels having to be consistently within that parameter for 24 months before being allowed to race.
In response to Diouf’s vexation, the president of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe, shared his final statement on the banning.
“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,” he said.
The accomplished 200m sprinter was hoping to qualify this year to represent her home country in the Paris Games, the nation’s first time hosting the sporting event in a century.
However, despite Diouf’s endocrinologist stating her low testosterone levels makes her “a woman from a physiological, hormonal, and legal point of view,” her dreams of making history as a trans runner on the Olympic stage are currently at a standstill.
The 21-year-old athlete would have made additional history as she is also a practicing Muslim, adding another layer to her representation at the Olympics. However, as the ruling remains intact, Diouf’s chances of winning gold are at a halt.
The 2024 Summer Olympics commences in Paris July 26.
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