Fri, January 26, 2024

Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas is seeking ban overrule, with sights on the Olympics

Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas is seeking ban overrule, with sights on the Olympics

According to The Telegraph, American Lia Thomas who made history as the first transgender athlete to secure the top US national college title in swimming is now pursuing legal avenues to resume competing in elite female sports, including at the Olympics. 

Transgender women were able to compete as long as they lowered their testosterone levels up until World Aquatics voted to stop transgender female athletes from competing in women's elite races if they have gone through any part of the process of male puberty two years ago, only three months after her NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) win. 

It is unknown when Thomas transitioned from male to female, but the swimmer competed as a man as recently as November 2019. 

Thomas is now understood to be taking a case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland to try to fight the ban and enlisted a Canadian law firm to represent her. 

It is thought that Thomas initially approached the court in September. Since then, World Aquatics has sought to have the case dismissed, on the basis she is not presently affected by its regulations because she has not submitted herself to the jurisdiction of USA Swimming, its recognised member association. 

World Aquatics declined to comment on Thomas’s legal challenge three months after plans for it to debut its new open category at the World Cup in Berlin were shelved when no entries were received.

Its executive director, Brent Nowicki, said in a statement: “The World Aquatics policy on gender inclusion, adopted by World Aquatics in June of 2022, was rigorously developed on the basis of advice from leading medical and legal experts, and in careful consultation with athletes. World Aquatics remains confident that its gender inclusion policy represents a fair approach and remains absolutely determined to protect women’s sport.”


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