JUST IN: Biological Male Medals In Race For Disabled Women

(trendingpoliticsnews) – 49-year-old Valentina Petrillo, a transgender biological male, clinched a bronze medal in the women’s 400-meter race at the World Para Athletics Championships in Paris. The race signifies Petrillo’s ninth medal in women’s competitions, establishing him as the first transgender athlete to seize a track and field medal on a global level.

Petrillo participated in the T12 category, a classification for visually impaired athletes, which he is eligible for due to being diagnosed with Stargardt disease at the age of 14. This condition resulted in vision loss and put a pause on his athletic pursuits until he turned 41. Prior to his transition, Petrillo had won 11 national championships in men’s categories.

With a time of 58.24 seconds in the 400-meter race, Petrillo fell behind Omara Durand of Cuba (52.82 seconds) and Alejandra Perez Lopez of Venezuela (57.88 seconds).

Petrillo initiated his transition in 2017 and went through hormone therapy in 2019. In an interview with the BBC, he said, “I respect and comply with the IOC and World Athletics rules, I do the tests. I don’t feel like I’m stealing anything from anyone.”

“As a sportsperson, to accept that you won’t go as fast as before is difficult. I had to accept this compromise, because it is a compromise, for my happiness,” said Petrillo.

His motto: “Better to be a slow happy woman than a fast unhappy man.”

Nevertheless, his participation and triumph in women’s sports have provoked criticism. Many argue that his physical build provides him an unfair edge over cisgender women. Peter Eriksen, the former Olympic head coach of Canada, labeled the outcome as “shocking,” while Mara Yamauchi, Britain’s third fastest female marathon runner ever, questioned the possibility of other 49-year-olds winning medals at a world level.

Despite the uproar, the World Para Athletics Championships currently permits transgender females to compete in women’s categories, in line with the International Olympic Committee’s guidelines. Conversely, World Athletics has prohibited transgender women from taking part in women’s sports at the Summer 2024 Paris Olympics in a bid to “protect the female category.”

In 2021, Fausta Quilleri, a Brescia-based lawyer and competitor in the over-35s “Master” category, challenged Petrillo’s entitlement to participate in women’s races by sending a petition to the president of the Italian Athletics Federation, the Ministry for Equal Opportunities, and the Ministry for Sport.

She says, “Her physical superiority is so evident as to make competition unfair,” protesting that the IOC’s single-minded concentration on testosterone “makes no sense” as physical build must be taken into account as well. The petition was endorsed by over 30 female Master athletes.

Quilleri’s position was clear: “If she wants to run with us we would be happy for her to do so. We will always welcome her but we don’t want her to compete with us for titles.” Petrillo felt a sting of pain when rejected for a group photo at one event by some of the women, but acknowledges their response.

“I asked myself, ‘Valentina, if you were a biological woman and had a Valentina, a trans, racing against you, how would you feel?’ And I gave myself answers – astonishment, confusion and doubt. I would have those things as a woman. So I believe these doubts and questions are legitimate.”

Nonetheless, Petrillo stood firm in defending the move to run in the women’s category. As the debate persists, the world of sports will need to strike a balance between inclusivity and fair competition.



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