In August, World Aquatics announced an ‘open category’ for gender-diverse athletes ahead of the swimming World Cup.
It has now scrapped it after there were no entries to the open category events.
Swimming’s global governing body says no entries have been received for its open category events. It comes ahead of this week’s World Cup in Berlin.
In August, World Aquatics announced open categories for gender-diverse swimmers after banning transgender athletes in elite women’s competitions.
A previous World Aquatics statement described the categories as “pioneering,” and that they highlighted an “unwavering commitment to inclusivity”.
Last year, World Aquatics ruled that only transgender swimmers who transitioned before 12 years old, or before a particular phase of puberty, could compete in women’s events.
It said this was to mitigate “the extent of the male/female performance gap… [that] emerges from the onset of puberty”.
It then announced open categories for gender-diverse swimmers. These will debut in events across all strokes during the 2023 World Cup in October.
In the lead-up to this year’s World Cup in Berlin, Germany’s central swimming organisation said it was “proud to host an event where swimmers can compete without barriers”.
However, according to World Aquatics, the open categories received no entries when registration closed.
In a statement, World Aquatics said “distances in various events had been made available for the Open Category,” conceding “there is no current demand at the elite level”.
World Aquatics said it will continue “work and engagement with the aquatics community on Open Category events” and it is “planning to look at the possibility of including Open Category races at Masters events [for competitors aged over 25] in the future.”
The World Aquatics ban last year came three months after swimmer Lia Thomas became the first openly transgender woman to win a college championship title in the U.S.
She told ABC News (U.S.) that the decision was “deeply upsetting… discriminatory and will only serve to harm all women”. It made her ineligible for the women’s category.
Thomas has not made any public comment about the most recent development.