CeCe Telfer’s Tokyo Olympics bid denied by World Athletics eligibility criteria


A transgender runner has not been allowed to try out for the US Olympic team after being ruled ineligible due to her testosterone levels.

CeCe Telfer signed up to compete in the women’s 400m hurdles at the US Olympic trials but was ultimately ruled out of the competition.

World Athletics guidelines released in 2019 closed off certain international events to athletes who did not meet eligibility requirements.

Among those include a stipulation for testosterone levels to be below 5 nonomoles per litre (nmol/L) for a span of 12 months.

The rules have infamously taken dual Olympic champion Caster Semenya out of the running to defend her 800m title at Tokyo 2020.

The South African refuses to take any medication to alter her high natural testosterone levels and continues to challenge the World Athletics ruling.

Telfer’s bid to make the Olympics came days after New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard was named to become the first transgender Olympian.

Telfer signed up for this week’s US trials two years after winning an American college title.

CeCe Telfer pictured winning the NCAA Division II women’s 400m hurdles title in 2019. Credit: Getty

The athlete competed for her college men’s team before taking time off, medically transitioning and coming back as part of the women’s team in 2019.

Telfer’s manager David McFarland said his client was a “model of grace in the face of adversity” and would respect the USA Track and Field decision to block her entry.

“CeCe has turned her focus towards the future and is continuing to train,” he said.

“She will compete on the national – and world – stage again soon.”

USATF said it had received notification from World Athletics of Telfer’s ineligibility on June 17.

“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 US Olympic Team Trials,” USATF said.

“According to subsequent notification to CeCe from World Athletics on June 22, she has not been able to demonstrate her eligibility.”

In a blog last week in Women’s Health, Telfer said: “I love what I’m doing and I’m getting to live my truth and live my authentic life. I believe that this is my way of being the change that I want to see in the world. And I live by that every single day.”

In its statement, USATF said 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,” the statement said.

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