Rules on trans athletes competing are needed in order to “protect young sportswomen”, according to former swimmer Sharron Davies.
Ms Davies, who took a silver medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer that an “open and honest debate” was needed on the issue.
She joins a growing number of prominent sportswomen, including runner Paula Radcliffe and tennis star Martina Navratilova, who have voiced their concerns that trans athletes may have an unfair advantage.
- Read more: Suzanne Evans suspended from Twitter for 'transphobic' comment
- Read more: Dr Nicola Williams: 'Ludicrous' to call Martina Navratilova a ‘transphobe’
Ms Davies said: “It’s not about being transphobic, this is about open and honest discussion and trying to create sensible rules that work for everybody.
“It’s about how do we still be inclusive, how do we still be fair with people, but at the same time how do we look after young sportswomen?”
Physical benefits 'do not go away'
Tennis champion Martina Navratilova has been heavily criticised for saying trans women have an unfair advantage.
Trans athletes are currently able to compete under International Olympic Committee rules, provided they have been reducing their testosterone levels for at least 12 months.
Ms Davies however said reducing testosterone did not make up for the biological advantages a trans athlete may have over one who was born female.
“When a young boy has gone through puberty, he has benefits of a larger heart, he’s probably taller and stronger with a bigger wingspan, heh as more red blood cells, he has a different skeletal system,” Ms Davies said.
She added: “Even when they’re blocking their testosterone they still have those benefits, those things do not go away no matter what happens later in life.”