Transgender runner CeCe Telfer unable to run Olympic trials due to eligibility rules

·2-min read
CeCe Telfer.
CeCe Telfer won the NCAA 400-meters in 2019, but cannot compete at the Olympic trials because of eligibility requirements. ( Rudy Gonzalez/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

CeCe Telfer, the first openly transgender woman to win an NCAA title, will not be allowed to compete at the U.S. Olympic trials in the 400-meter hurdles because she did not meet the World Athletics eligibility regulations, the Associated Press reported. 

Telfer entered the trials held in Eugene, Oregon, but was not allowed to compete based on the World Athletics guidelines released in 2019. The regulations require runners in international women's events between 400 meters and one mile to have testosterone levels below 5 nonomoles per liter for a span of 12 months. 

The regulations are associated with two-time Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya, who has been fighting them for years.

Telfer initially competed on the men's team at Division II Franklin Pierce. She took time off and came back to compete for the women's team, winning the 400-meter NCAA title in 2019. 

“CeCe has turned her focus towards the future and is continuing to train. She will compete on the national — and world — stage again soon,” Telfer's manager David McFarland said.

USA Track and Field released a statement that read in part, via AP: 

“Following notification from World Athletics on June 17 that the conditions had not yet been met, USATF provided CeCe with the eligibility requirements and, along with World Athletics, the opportunity to demonstrate her eligibility so that she could compete at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. According to subsequent notification to CeCe from World Athletics on June 22, she has not been able to demonstrate her eligibility."

USATF also said in a statement that 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." 

Anyone competing in the Olympic trials must meet requirements for the U.S. Olympic team, which has to follow regulations set by World Athletics. 

Telfer was one of many openly transgender athletes attempting to compete at the Olympics. New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard was chosen by the country's Olympic Committee earlier this week, making her the first openly transgender athlete to compete at an Olympics. It has been met by criticism from competitors.

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