A transgender woman’s victory in a 1,500-meter running event in Canada has fueled the debate about trans women in women’s sports.
Tiffany Newell, 50, placed first in the W50 1,500m, which is open to women aged 50 to 54, at the Canadian Masters Indoor Championships in Toronto, held this weekend.
While only one other person competed in that age group, Newell has repeatedly placed first in women’s events since transitioning in 2017 and has set global records in her age group.
The recent victory, with a time of 05:07.611, comes amid fierce debate around the world over whether trans women should be allowed to compete in the female categories of sports. Evidence has shown that trans women who have gone through male puberty maintain their physical advantage even after treatment to lower testosterone levels.
Several state legislators across America have introduced bills to prevent trans women from competing against women in sports.
Tiffany Newell (pictured yesterday), 50, placed first in the W50 1,500m, which is open to women ages 50 to 54, at the Canadian Masters Indoor Championships in Toronto, held this weekend
While only one other person competed in that age group, Newell (far left, yesterday) has repeatedly placed first in women’s events and has set global records in her age group since her transition in 2017.
Newell raced at the 12th Canadian Masters Indoor Championships. The results show that the other competitor in the W50 category, Catherin Weber, finished with a time of 06:19.358.
Last year, Newell set a new Canadian record in the 5,000 meters for women aged 45-49 with a time of 18:02:30. Canadian Masters Athletics ratified the time as a record under the World Athletics policy for trans athletes.
The policy states that the athlete must provide a signed statement confirming their gender identity and must also demonstrate that the concentration of testosterone in their blood serum has been less than 5 nanomoles per liter continuously for a period of at least 12 months.
Some critics have suggested an open category in addition to that for biological men and women, but Newell has previously said she does not support the idea.
“The policy makes sense for non-binary athletes, but I don’t feel comfortable racing against men” she said.
Tiffany Newell (left) has won several events – and held some records – since she switched in 2017
Her success at the recent Canadian Masters Indoor Championships was highlighted by the International Consortium on Female Sport, a campaign group that lobbies for protected categories in biological women’s sports.
“It categorizes me into the gender I’m not identified with. I am a woman and I feel most comfortable racing against women or other transgender women.
“I believe that an open category can work if athletes can continue to race against same-sex athletes.”
Newell’s success at her last event was highlighted by the International Consortium on Female Sport, a campaign group that lobbies for protected categories in biological women’s sports.
The ICFS pointed out that Newell’s time in the 1,500 meters was recorded in the World Masters Rankings as the current number one for a woman in the W50 category in 2023. No other times have been entered on the WMR website this year in that category.
The ICFS asked World Athletics and World Masters Athletics why it is not “protecting the integrity of the female category,” claiming Newell’s entry was “blatant gender discrimination.”
Proponents of the ICFS’s position said the competition was “wrong and unfair.”
Former NFL star Marcellus Wiley recently spoke out against transgender athletes in women’s sports
Trans swimmer Lia Thomas is a biological male and has sparked controversy in NCAA Swimming
The participation of trans women in women’s competitions has become the subject of fierce debate in recent years, as a result of which many (former) top athletes have spoken out in the debate.
Former NFL star Marcellus Wiley said earlier this month “it’s not right” for transgender women to compete against biological women in sporting events.
The former FS1 personality highlighted how athletes such as swimmer Lia Thomas, one of the most high-profile trans athletes, have established themselves as top competitors in women’s categories.
During a 2001 Pro Bowl defense end, Wiley said he “has no problem with transgender people,” but he did take offense to their participation in women’s sports.
Retired tennis champion Martina Navratilova recently “cheated” on trans athletes. Former Olympic gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner, who competed as a man in the 1976 Olympics before switching, said Thomas has “a huge advantage over girls” against whom she competes.
What is the World Athletics policy on trans women participation?
World Athletics, the international governing body, published its 19-page guideline on the fitness of transgender athletes in October 2019.
Trans women must meet the following criteria:
- Provide a written and signed statement, in a form satisfactory to a medical manager, that her gender identity is female
- Demonstrate that the concentration of testosterone in her blood serum has been continuously below 5 nanomoles per liter for a period of at least 12 months
- Keep her serum testosterone concentration below 5 nmol/L for as long as she wants to remain eligible to compete in the women’s competition