Cece Telfer: Transgender runner ruled ineligible for US Olympic trials

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Transgender runner Cece Telfer has been barred from the women’s 400m hurdles at US Olympic trials after failing to meet World Athletics eligibility regulations.

The 26-year-old Telfer had entered the trials but was ultimately not allowed to compete. World Athletics regulations, released in 2019, prevent women from competing in events between 400m and a mile if they have testosterone levels higher than 5 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) for a span of 12 months.

The same rules will prevent South Africa’s Caster Semenya from defending her Olympic titles in Tokyo this year.

In a statement, USA Track and Field said it: “strongly supports inclusivity and providing a clear path to participation in the sport for all, while also maintaining competitive fairness.

“If CeCe meets the conditions for transgender athlete participation in the future, we wholeheartedly back her participation in international events as a member of Team USATF.”

Telfer had competed for the men's team at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire, before taking some time off from the sport and returning to compete in the women’s team. She subsequently won an NCAA title in 2019.

According to The Guardian, Telfer’s manager David McFarland said she had accepted her rejection from the Olympic trials: “CeCe has turned her focus towards the future and is continuing to train. She will compete on the national and world stage again soon.”

If Telfer had managed to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, she would have been the second openly transgender athlete to compete at the Games. Laurel Hubbard, a weightlifter from New Zealand, is set to become the first.

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Hubbard, who transitioned 10 years ago, will compete in the women's super heavyweight category at Tokyo 2020. The 43-year-old met the eligibility standards set by the International Olympic Committee and the New Zealand Olympic Committee. She has been backed by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Former decathlete Caitlyn Jenner had clinched the gold medal at the Montreal 1976 Olympics, but not in the women's category and as her assigned sex at birth.

Away from the Olympics, Japanese footballer Kumi Yokoyama recently revealed they “quit soccer and live as a man.” They have been praised by US President Joe Biden for their bravery.

Yokoyama was part of Japan’s team at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and has made 43 appearances for their country in total. The 27-year-old joined the Washington Spirit in 2019 and has scored one goal so far this season against the North Carolina Courage in the NWSL Challenge Cup.

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