High-profile sporting figures have backed Vladimir Putin after the Russian president warned that women’s sport is under threat from the current rules on transgender athletes.
The debate around transgender athletes has proved an increasingly contentious one, not least since the International Olympic Committee’s new guidelines, issued in November, appeared to allow transitioned competitors to compete against rivals born as women without reducing their testosterone levels.
Rights campaigners claim that athletes should have the freedom to compete under the gender they align themselves with, while critics – including the parents of college competitors who have watched a transgender participant smash records in the US in recent weeks – have said the current rules are unfair.
In his annual media conference on Thursday, president Putin said he was concerned that women’s sports could disappear if men are allowed to declare themselves women.
Putin appeared to refer to Laurel Hubbard, the weightlifter who transitioned as…