Tennis legend Martina Navratilova recently praised the decision by World Athletics to ban males from competing against natural-born female athletes, calling it a “step in the right direction.”
Last week, the World Athletics Council moved to ban male athletes who identify as women from competing against biological females at international events. Lord Coe, head of World Athletics, said the new rules were set to kick in on March 31.
Lord Coe added that the decision was “guided by the overarching principle, which is to protect the female category.”
“Decisions are always difficult when they involve conflicting needs and rights between different groups, but we continue to take the view that we must maintain fairness for female athletes above all other considerations,” Lord Coe continued.
“We will be guided in this by the science around physical performance and male advantage which will inevitably develop over the coming years. As more evidence becomes available, we will review our position, but we believe the integrity of the female category in athletics is paramount,” he said.
On the tail of the decision, outspoken women’s advocate Martina Navratilova, 66, spoke up to support the organization’s new rule saying that it was a “step in the right direction,” and adding she hopes that the sports world is “finally waking up,” according to the Daily Mail.
Navratilova, who has won 59 Grand Slam titles over her long career, noted that champions “rise above the rest when everything else is equal.”
The tennis legend suggested a way to make sport fair for all, saying, “I think the best idea would be to have ‘biological female’ and ‘biological girls’ categories and then an ‘open’ category.”
“It would be a category for all-comers: men who identify as men; women who identify as women; women who identify as men; men who identify as women; non-binary — it would be a catch-all,” she said.
But she opposes athletes who are born male being allowed to compete against women because “there is no way to erase that physical advantage” of puberty to make it fair for trans women to compete against natural-born women.
Navratilova, who recently announced that she beat cancer after revealing the threat in Jan., also said that the male body also offers other advantages over the female. “If you can breathe faster and deeper, that is a massive advantage in top-level sport,” she said, commenting on a man’s larger lung capacity.