IOC defends decision to allow sport to develop its own transgender policies

The International Olympic Committee has defended its position by allowing individual sports to form transgender policies after Martina Navratilova accused them of passing the buck on the issue.

Tennis great Navratilova, a gay rights campaigner, told the Australian newspaper that the IOC had “completely taken a look” at the transgender issue as sports federations reviewed their eligibility rules.

Swimming’s world governing body FINA has banned transgender athletes from both men’s and women’s competitions, and World Athletics chairman Lord Coe has made it clear his sport could follow suit.

Tennis great Martina Navratilova has criticized the IOC’s stance on the transgender issue (Mike Egerton/PA)

To compete in men’s events, female-male athletes must provide a written and signed declaration of their gender identity.

Navratilova questioned the IOC’s decision to leave it to individual federations to resolve, calling the situation “impossible”.

IOC spokesperson Mark Adams told a press conference: “We have to try to balance fairness and inclusiveness, and at the end of the day, it’s a very difficult situation to manage. .

“At this stage, that’s why we have a framework, to allow those sports to decide and come up with those plans.

“It will take time and we have to see what happens. This must be the only way forward.

“We cannot come up with a short rule that suits everyone. It has to be by sport, and even by discipline.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Day Sixteen
Boxing’s future at the Olympics has been in doubt beyond Paris 2024 (Adam Davy/PA)

The IOC also confirmed on Friday that the qualifying events and boxing competitions for the Paris 2024 Olympics will not take place under the authority of the International Boxing Association.

This follows concerns about the governance, financial stability and sustainability of the IBA, as well as its arbitration and judging system.

Whether or not boxing will be included in the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028 will be discussed later.

IOC Sporting Director Kit McConnell said: “We are just over six months away from the start of qualification, and there is still huge uncertainty for athletes as to how and when they will qualify for Paris.

“The IOC Executive Board felt that enough was enough and, on an exceptional basis, alternative models will be found for these boxing competitions.

“These will work with the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee and with the athlete representatives, and these models will be put in place and presented to the IOC Executive Board.”

The IOC noted that Milano Cortina 2026 will include a record number of women’s events and will be the most gender-balanced Winter Olympics to date, with 47% female participation.

Eight new events have been added to the programme, including three in the new Olympic sport of ski mountaineering – men’s sprint, women’s sprint and mixed relay.

Bobsleigh will host a mixed team skeleton event, while luge and skiing will also see the introduction of new competitions.

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