A transgender woman’s victory in a 1,500m running event in Canada has added fuel to the debate around trans women competing 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, which took place over the weekend.
While only one other person in that age group competed, Newell has repeatedly placed first in women’s events, and has set global records in her age category, since transitioning in 2017.
The recent victory, with a time of 05:07.611, comes amid fierce debate globally about whether trans women should be allowed to compete in female categories in sports. Evidence has shown that trans women who haver been through male puberty maintain their physical advantage even after treatment to lower testosterone levels.
Several state legislatures across America have introduced bills designed to prevent trans women competing against women in sports.
Newell was racing at the 12th Canadian Masters Indoor Championships. 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 5,000m in the women’s 45-49 age category 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 the athlete must provide a signed declaration that confirms their gender identity and 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 to run alongside those for biological men and women, but Newell has previously said she doesn’t support the idea.
‘The policy makes sense for non-binary athletes, but I don’t feel comfortable racing against men,’ she said.
‘It categorizes me in the sex I am not identified as. I am a woman, and I feel most comfortable racing against women or other transgender women.
‘I believe an open category can work if athletes can continue to race against athletes of the same gender.’
Newell’s success in her latest event was highlighted by the International Consortium on Female Sport, a campaign group which lobbies for protected categories in sport for biological women.