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Tamsyn Manou has expressed her concern after a transgender runner became the NCAA 400m women’s hurdles national champion recently.
CeCe Telfer, a transgender woman who was born a male called Craig, took out the title by over a second at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships for Frankland Pierce University on May 25.
Before her transition, Telfer was ranked outside the top 200 male runners in college athletics.
Her last event as Craig took place in January 2018, when she finished eighth out of nine men in the 400m.
And according to Aussie Olympian Manou, something needs to be done to address the ever-present issue.
“The female category isn’t being protected enough in elite women’s sport at the moment,” Manou told Ben Fordham on 2GB.
“I know that it’s a grey area… but it really concerns me.
“I think that it’s important that people understand it’s not about gender identity.
“This is an issue that is surrounding what you were born as, biologically what your sex is.
“There is just way too much advantage with a male competing against a female.”
And fellow Aussie Olympian Jane Flemming agreed.
“They have larger oxygenisation of their blood, so they’re carrying more oxygen around than what a female would,” the two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist said.
“They absolutely have increased bone strength, and for a lot of particularly distance and endurance-based female athletes, they go through a lot of bone problems because of the volume of the training they have to do.
“They also have increased muscle bulk.”
‘Not supported by evidence’
Under NCAA rules, males transitioning to female can compete as women if they suppress their testosterone levels for a calendar year.
“According to medical experts on this issue, the assumption that a transgender woman competing on a women’s team would have a competitive advantage outside the range of performance and competitive advantage or disadvantage that already exists among female athletes is not supported by evidence,” an NCAA official said.
Telfer’s coach says her improved results have come about from her change in attitude and motivation.
“She’s been incredibly motivated this year and I think the transition one million percent had something to do with that,” Zach Emerson told the Daily Mail.
“It’s like night and day as far as what she was willing to do as an athlete and how committed she was.”