July 6 (Reuters) - British triathlon has banned transgender athletes from competing in the female category at the elite and grassroots levels, instead allowing them to participate in an "open" category alongside men, the governing body said on Wednesday.
The move follows the decision of swimming's world governing body FINA to restrict the participation of transgender athletes in elite women's competitions.
"British Triathlon has reviewed its Transgender Policy... to ensure that it reflects the needs of our sport, protects fairness in competition and serves our desire to make triathlon truly inclusive," it said in a statement.
It said triathlon was a gender-affected sport and the new policy would see transgender athletes above the age of 12 feature in an open category "for all individuals including male, transgender and those non-binary who were male sex at birth".
A separate female category would be reserved "for those who are the female sex at birth". The guidelines will come into effect from Jan. 1 next year.
"We started this process at the end of 2021 and went through a period of independent consultation... this ensured that along with the latest research, we heard from our community, key groups and individuals," said British Triathlon.
World Athletics and FIFA are among a number of federations reviewing their guidelines on the involvement of transgender athletes following FINA's ruling, which is the strictest by any Olympic sports body.
While FINA engaged leading scientists on the taskforce which drew up its rules, advocates for transgender inclusion argue that not enough studies have yet been done on the impact of transition on physical performance.