The swimming world association World Aquatics is the first large sports association in the world to introduce competitions in the “open category” at the World Cup taking place in Berlin in October. Transgender athletes can then also take part in this. “This groundbreaking pilot project underscores the organization’s unwavering commitment to inclusion, which welcomes swimmers of all genders and gender identities,” said World Aquatics.
Last year, the umbrella organization banned transgender swimmers from the women’s races at major events such as the Olympic Games and World Championships. Exceptions are only permitted if the gender reassignment was completed before the age of twelve. At the same time, however, World Aquatics committed to creating an open category. The association is now doing this.
Discussion about swimmer Lia Thomas
The open category will make its debut with 50m and 100m races in all swimming disciplines. More competitions could be added. Participants must belong to a national association, but can also compete individually for their club or association.
“Berlin is thrilled to support this groundbreaking initiative with the full support of the German Swimming Federation (DSV). We are proud to host an event where swimmers can compete without barriers,” said DSV Vice President Kai Morgenroth . “Berlin is Germany’s hub for diversity and inclusion and therefore the perfect place for such a progressive project”
The discussion about the participation of transgender athletes had increased in intensity, especially in connection with the American Lia Thomas (24). Thomas swam as a man until 2019, then underwent hormone therapy and became the first trans female swimmer to win a collegiate championship title in March 2022.