Decorated track athlete Sanya Richards-Ross understands the reasoning behind World Athletics banning transgender women from competing in elite female competitions.
Sanya is hopeful that the governing body can find a fair way for all to compete.
“The main difference between men and women is testosterone levels. That is what gives men an advantage over women in sports. So it becomes challenging for cisgender women to compete against transgender women who have a higher level of testosterone.
You want it to be a fair and level playing field for all,” Sanya, the TCS World 10K International Event Ambassador, said here on Thursday.
“Obviously, it is no one’s fault (being a transgender woman). However, these men and women identify and they should have a place in sports. They should have a place in everything in life. My hope is that we can find a fair way for all to compete,” Sanya added.
A four-time Olympic gold medallist, Sanya ranks as one of the best 400m sprinters of all time. The Jamaica-born American ran the 400m under 50 seconds an incredible 49 times.
There is one record, however, that proved to be way beyond the reach of Sanya. The 400m women’s world record was set at 47.60s by Marita Koch in 1985 - a mark that stands to this day. This timing is generally considered unattainable even by the best modern-day 400m sprinters.
Marita’s record, however, is clouded with the suspicion that East German athletes at the time aided from using performance-enhancing drugs.
Sanya explained that Marita’s world record just “does not make sense”.
“I wish the IAAF would have put an asterisk with that record. Timings progressively go down; you don’t see huge dips. It does not make sense for the record to go from 52 seconds to 47.60 seconds in that short span of time. I was supremely talented, worked really hard, and had the calibre to create a world record, but 47.60s was never on the cards for me.
The IAAF should have taken action, especially when there were documentaries and other things that showed that athletes from East Germany were doping. They should have had the courage to do it then, and it’s too late to do anything about it now,” Sanya said.
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