Triathlon becomes first British sport to create separate 'open category' for transgender athletes

The new policy will take effect from early next year. Credit: PA

Transgender women triathlon athletes will not be able to compete in women's events and instead will do so in a new 'open category', the British Triathlon Federation (BTF) has announced.

The body is the first British sport to establish a separate category in which trans athletes will compete.

The BTF said triathlon is a "gender-affected sport" as it announced there will be two categories for competitive events for female athletes over the age of 12.

There will be the 'female category' for "those who are the female sex at birth" and an 'open category' for "all individuals including male, transgender and those non-binary who were male sex at birth".

The new policy will take affect from January 1, 2023 and it will provide additional guidance later this year.

Triathlon said it hopes the new category "reflects the needs of our sport, protects fairness in competition and serves our desire to make triathlon truly inclusive".

It added: "British Triathlon wants to make clear, that it does not tolerate transphobic behaviour, harassment, bullying or hate speech of any kind.

"Anyone commenting on our policy, should do so with empathy and consideration for all of those who have been involved and who may still have questions and concerns about how the policy impacts them."

It added that trans athletes will be allowed to participate in "recreational/non-competitive activities and events as the gender they identify as".

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It comes after Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said last week that "asking women and teenage girls" to compete against athletes "biologically born a male is inherently unfair".

Ms Dorries said she wanted to make it "absolutely clear" that domestic sports groups should follow the example of swimming's governing body FINA and impose regulations on the participation of trans women athletes.

FINA voted to ban trans women athletes who have gone through male puberty from racing in women’s events, followed closely by rugby league who also banned transgender women from competing in the sport at an international level.

The announcements came two weeks after cycling’s governing body, the UCI, voted to double the period of time before a rider transitioning from male to female can compete.

The previous policy had been under review after being brought to attention by British rider Emily Bridges, one of cycling’s most high-profile transgender competitors.