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Sports World Reacts To Swimming's Transgender Athlete Decision

Lia Thomas at the NCAA Championships

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - MARCH 18: Lia Thomas looks on from the podium after finishing fifth in the 200 Yard Freestyle during the 2022 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championship at the McAuley Aquatic Center on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology on March 18, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Comer/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Amid the controversy over Lia Thomas' presence in women's swimming, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) has made a final ruling on Thomas and all transgender swimmers moving forward.

On Sunday, the swimming world governing body voted to restrict the participation of transgender athletes in elite women's swimming competitions. FINA pledged to establish an "open" category in some events as part of their new policy.

According to the Toronto Sun, under the new policy, male-to-female transgender athletes can now only participate in women's swimming if they prove to FINA's satisfaction that they have not undergone "any part of male puberty beyond Tanner Stage 2 (of puberty) or before age 12."

Per the report, the vote passed with a 71-percent majority among the 152 nations that make up the federation's membership. 

Given the heated nature of the debate, the reaction has been extremely split:

FINA president Husain Al-Musallam cited a desire to "protect competitive fairness" in the decision. He said that FINA remains determined to welcome every athlete, which is why they will create the "open category" to give transgender athletes the opportunity to continue competing.

“We have to protect the rights of our athletes to compete, but we also have to protect competitive fairness at our events, especially the women’s category at FINA competitions,” Al-Musallam said.

“FINA will always welcome every athlete. The creation of an open category will mean that everybody has the opportunity to compete at an elite level. This has not been done before, so FINA will need to lead the way. I want all athletes to feel included in being able to develop ideas during this process.”

Do you agree with the decision?