British Triathlon has been praised for being ‘true to itself’ over the issue of transgender inclusion by the president of the Commonwealth Games Federation.
The national governing body announced earlier this month that from the start of 2023 it will have just two competition categories for over-12s at elite and grassroots level – open and female – with the latter only open to athletes assigned the female sex at birth.
In doing so it became the first British sports governing body to include trans women in a new open category, rather than one separate to the male and female categories.
British Triathlon have published its Transgender Policy after a period of consultation. You can find the policy, FAQs, consultation process and statement here – https://t.co/ZBx9IjvFEo pic.twitter.com/dUkKX6UMPo
— British Triathlon (@BritTri) July 6, 2022
British Triathlon chief executive Andy Salmon said the move had been taken after extensive consultation within the sport and felt it struck the right balance between inclusivity, fairness and safety.
CGF president Dame Louise Martin, speaking at a training event in Birmingham held for para-athletes in the build-up to the Games in the city which start next week, was full of praise for the approach taken by British Triathlon.
“I think that’s a brilliant idea,” she told the PA news agency.
“Maybe we have to look at it and see what happens when you have the first event there and then see what happens when we go forward with other international federations.
“(British Triathlon) have come out at their own stage, they have decided what they are going to do and they are standing by it.
“If other people don’t like it, they don’t have to follow it, but be true to yourselves, be true to your athletes, and let’s take this forward.”
British Triathlon’s consultation process on its transgender policy started long before Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries called a summit on transgender inclusion.
She told governing bodies from a range of sports that it was “inherently unfair” to allow athletes born male to compete in female categories in sports where strength and endurance were factors and said sport had “ducked the issue” for too long.
UK Sport chair Dame Katherine Grainger, speaking at the same event as Martin in Birmingham, said: “We’re still in early days for how this is going to play out.
“You want all people to have the same positive experience in sport, but the trans debate is challenging a lot of those areas.
“It’s really important really open conversations are being had. The conversation can be quite hostile on different sides and you really want to have this very open debate about trying to find a way forward for this.”