Swimming World Cup cancels ‘Open Category’ for trans athletes after no one signs up


The Swimming World Cup in Germany officially closed the “Open Category,” which was opened to offer inclusion to transgender swimmers, after zero athletes registered for any of the swimming competitions.

World Aquatics, the governing body for international water sports, originally announced the new category in August 2023 after men were prohibited from women’s competitions if they attempted to change genders after the age of 12.

“True to our word, a team of experts has diligently worked to make this a reality. I would like to thank all those who have helped World Aquatics to deliver this opportunity,” World Aquatics president Husain Al Musallam said at the time.

The administrators since revealed that “various events had been made available for the Open Category,” yet they received no willing participants.

“Following the close of registration for the Open Category competitions at the World Aquatics Swimming World Cup – Berlin 2023 meet scheduled for 6-8 October, World Aquatics can confirm that no entries have been received for the Open Category events,” World Aquatics wrote in a press release.

Despite having no participants for the new category at the 2023 event, the governing body said that it would continue to evaluate the level of demand for this kind of participation.

“The World Aquatics Open Category Working Group will continue its work and engagement with the aquatics community on Open Category events,” the announcement read. “Even if there is no current demand at the elite level, the working group is planning to look at the possibility of including Open Category races at Masters events in the future.”

In June 2022, World Aquatics, then known as the International Swimming Federation or FINA, barred transgender athletes from competing against women in elite events, except under one condition: transgender swimmers were allowed to compete against women if they have completed their transition by the age of 12.

At the time, FINA released a 24-page document explaining its policy decision.

The organization spent a reported six months after its announcement working on the open category, only for it to be canceled once it was ready to be implemented.

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