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Swimming Officials To Trial An ‘Open Category’ For Transgender Athletes

World Aquatics, the world swimming governing body, announced Tuesday that it will set up an “open category” that will include transgender athletes, according to The Associated Press.

The governing body banned most male athletes from competing in the female division in 2022 following uproar over Lia Thomas, a transgender swimmer who won a national title in women’s swimming after competing in the men’s collegiate division for three years. The president of World Aquatics, Husain Al-Musallam, said an “open category” swimming event will take place alongside other races, according to the AP.

World Aquatics oversees the swimming categories of the Olympics, including water polo and diving.

“This is a very complex topic,” Al-Musallam said while attending the World Aquatics Congress in Fukuoka, Japan, according to the AP. “But I am delighted to tell you today that we are now making plans for the first trial of an open category, and we hope to be able to confirm all the details soon,” according to the AP.

World Aquatics, formerly titled FINA, barred most males from the female division in a “gender inclusive policy” made in 2022.

“It was very important that we protected fair competition for our female athletes,” Al-Musallam said. “But you have heard me say many times there should be no discrimination. Nobody should be excluded from our competitions,” according to the AP. “Our sport must be open to everybody.”

Earlier this month, the International Cycling Union (UCI), the world cycling governing body, announced its new restrictions on male athletes from competing in the women’s division.

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