Female athlete 'pleased' at British Cycling's ban of trans women in female categories

27 May 2023, 09:07

GB Olympic athlete comments of trans women cycling ban

By Georgina Greer

GB Olympic medalist, Sharon Davies, says that biological women are expected to "move over" to allow trans women to compete in all-female categories, even though they have a "massive biological advantage".

GB competitive swimmer Sharon Davies told Sangita Myska that it sends the wrong message to young girls to allow trans women to compete in female categories as it implies women are "not worthy of fair sport".

The conversation comes with British Cycling's announcement that they intend to ban transgender women from competing in elite female events in plans to be implemented later this year, with events being split into "open" and "female" categories.

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Ms Davies began: "I'm just really pleased for female athletes, this has all been about fairness to female athletes...with something like cycling, there's a thirteen-fourteen per cent difference between female and male performance, which is why we have female and male races...we are physiologically different people."

"Now it doesn't work the other way, trans-identifying males...have no impact going into men's races, so men have no problem with it whatsoever, however, in the women's races we are expected to move over and enable people to come in with a physical advantage and just have no problem with it", she added.

She went on to hit out at the advantage of a higher testosterone level: "What is the point in having WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) for women's sport if women say 'well you can bring a twelve per cent advantage to the race and we don't have a problem with it'?"

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Sangita questioned the medalist: "You've just described a massive physical advantage - how do you define massive?"

Ms Davies responded: "I've just told you, twelve per cent."

Sangita hit back: "Why is it then in other sports governing bodies have said that transgender women can compete against biological females based on the amount of testosterone they have?"

Ms Davies replied that they have not, offering world athletics and world swimming as examples of other sports that have "protected the female category."

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Sangita went on to highlight an "interesting" element of British Cycling CEO Jon Dutton's statement where he was challenged on the decision and asked that on the basis of inconclusive results and the fact that studies are being conducted all the time, whether British Cycling has "moved too far too fast."

Ms Davies replied exclaiming: "It is conclusive, that's the whole point!"

Sangita then interrupted causing the discussion to reach a crescendo, with Ms Davies requesting to finish her sentence.

Ms Davies continued: "Let me explain to you that there are seventeen studies in the world and in those seventeen studies not a single one says we can mitigate ...there are no studies in the world at present which say we can remove the biological advantage."

"So until we have those studies should we not protect the female classification?" she questioned.

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Sangita then mentioned transgender cyclist Emily Bridges, who has claimed that British Cycling is engaged in a "culture war," which Ms Davies then disagreed with.

She continued: "It's really important that we make all sport inclusive, however, having a female category and an open category enables everyone to do sport fairly."

Ms Davies asked: "What sort of message are we sending to young girls if we say to them, males are due fair sport, males are worthy of fair sport and females are not worthy of fair sport?"

"What sort of message is that for any young aspiring athlete?" she concluded.

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