I could have won London gold, but don’t think trans athletes should compete with women

I was born male and became British record holder in three men’s athletics events before undergoing gender reassignment surgery.

London 2012 was on the horizon and the consequences of my operation meant I would be eligible to compete against women in time for what turned out to be Britain’s greatest sporting summer. At first, I was tempted to do so.

Tina Daniels didn’t believe it was fair to compete at the 2012 Paralympics in London.Credit:Getty

I am paralysed from the chest down following a road traffic accident 20 years ago in which I broke my neck in two places, destroyed my spinal cord and was left with limited use of my hands and arms.

I went from playing football and rugby to taking up wheelchair sports — javelin, discus and shot put — working my way up to become the best in the country in my disability category. After reassignment surgery, I resumed training and found I had retained nearly all the upper-body strength I gained during more than 30 years of life as a male.

I considered entering events under my new legal gender, something that would likely have meant I broke women’s world records in my category, qualified for the Paralympics and potentially came away with gold. That is something I just could not bring myself to do. While others had worked tirelessly for the chance to realise that same dream, because of my unfair advantage, I would just be taking a deserved spot away.

I am in my forties now and still train studiously and regularly. I would be very competitive in female sports, even at my age, and Paralympic podiums would not be beyond me. I find it incredulous that trans women like myself are being shoehorned into female sport even when we retain advantages years after transitioning. The evidence is there proving that those advantages are insurmountable.

English shot-putter Amelia Strickler is another to speak out on trans athletes contesting women’s events.

English shot-putter Amelia Strickler is another to speak out on trans athletes contesting women’s events.Credit:Getty

World Athletics’ “preferred option” for new transgender rules — halving the amount of testosterone I would be permitted to 2.5 nanomoles per litre — is yet another policy fudge and the antithesis of peer-reviewed studies. What defines a woman is not her hormone level.

I do not produce testosterone now, but have crucially undergone male puberty, giving me an overwhelming edge versus those born female when it comes to lung capacity, strength and muscle fibre. The fairest and most inclusive policy would be one that ensures a men’s category is open to all, including people like me, even if that means renaming it to reflect that. The women’s category could be reserved for those born female.

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