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Transgender U.S. hurdling champion CeCe Telfer ruled ineligible for Olympic trials

The 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials for track and field started June 18 and end Monday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Photo by Cacophony/Wikimedia Commons
The 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials for track and field started June 18 and end Monday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Photo by Cacophony/Wikimedia Commons

June 24 (UPI) -- Transgender hurdler CeCe Telfer is ineligible to compete in the U.S. Olympic trials for track and field because she did not meet "eligibility regulations for transgender athletes," USA Track & Field said Wednesday.

Telfer, the first openly transgender woman to win an NCAA title, entered the trials and was set to compete in the 400-meter hurdles this weekend in Eugene, Ore. The trials started June 18 and end Monday.

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World Athletics, which governs eligibility for Olympic athletes, requires runners in international events between 400 meters and 1 mile to have testosterone levels below 5 nanomoles per liter for a span of 12 months.

World Athletics notified USATF that Telfer did not yet meet the regulations June 17. USATF and World Athletics "allowed her the opportunity to demonstrate her eligibility," but concluded Tuesday that she was not able to do so.

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"While CeCe Telfer has met the performance qualification standard for the women's 400-meter hurdles event at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials-track & field, she has not met the conditions established in the World Athletics 'Eligibility Regulations for Transgender Athletes' and is therefore ineligible to compete," USATF said in a statement.

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Telfer competed on the men's track team at Division II's Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, N.H. She took a break and returned to compete for the women's team and won a 400-meter NCAA title in 2019.

"USATF strongly supports inclusivity and providing a clear path to participation in the sport for all, while also maintaining competitive fairness," USATF said.

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"If CeCe meets the conditions for transgender athlete participation in the future, we wholeheartedly back her participation in international events as a member of Team USATF."

David McFarland, Telfer's manager, said she still plans to participate in future track events.

"The model of grace in the face of adversity, CeCe will respect USA Track & Field's decision on her eligibility to compete at the U.S. Olympic Trials this Friday in Eugene," McFarland said in a statement.

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"CeCe has turned her focus toward the future and is continuing to train. She will compete on the national -- and world -- stage again soon."

Earlier this week, New Zealand named Laurel Hubbard to its weightlifting team. Hubbard will be the first openly transgender athlete to compete at an Olympics.

The Summer Games run from July 23 to Aug. 8 in Tokyo.

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