Tennis coach says hormone restrictions are required for trans-identifying athletes

Michael Paduch, a certified tennis coach from Ontario, says sports policy should be ‘based on sport science.’ He believes hormonal restrictions are required for trans-identifying athletes competing in female categories.

Tennis coach says hormone restrictions are required for trans-identifying athletes
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Support for trans-identifying athletes in Canada remains low, when competing based on their ‘gender identity,’ not sex, according to a new poll.

And one junior competitive coach is speaking out to protect women’s sports.

An Ipsos poll surveyed adults in 26 countries, asking: “to what extent do you support or oppose the following: Transgender athletes competing based on the gender they identify with rather the sex they were assigned at birth?”

Just one in five (21%) respondents supported transgender athletes. Whereas, half (48%) opposed the measure.

Support for rights and visibility appeared to register “precipitous drops,” said Sanyam Sethi, Ipsos vice-president of public affairs.

“What really stood out to me was how starkly Canadians are changing their opinions,” she said.

Michael Paduch told the National Post he’s aware the trans debate is emotionally charged, but his priority is to ensure “female tennis is not affected negatively by policies that are put in place.”

Paducah corrected the record, stating the issue is not about inclusion in sports, but implementing policy “based on sport science.”

As a certified tennis instructor of 15 years, Paduch contends he and other coaches were not consulted on the newly implemented Transgender Athlete Participation Policy for all Ontario Tennis Association (OTA) clubs.

It permits athletes to participate, “without restriction,” in the gender category they attribute their identity. 

According to the policy, gender-reassignment interventions are not a prerequisite.

Paduch believes some hormonal restrictions are required for athletes competing in female categories. 

“In theory, right now anybody who is completely fully male in their teens in Ontario could compete against girls and could be winning titles based on this policy,” he said.

Under the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) policy, trans-women competing against biological females must demonstrate his testosterone falls below a maximum limit for 12 consecutive months. 

They must be “ready, willing and able to continue to keep it below that level for so long as she continues to compete in the female category of competition,” it reads.

Paduch told the publication that OTA-sanctioned events “accepted a much more watered down, much weaker policy … at the expense of girls.”

The OTA defended the guidelines, claiming to provide transgender athletes opportunities to participate in sports “free of discrimination.” It is virtually identical to a policy implemented last year by Tennis Canada.

Paduch questioned the unfair competitive advantage biological males have over women and girls, even during their teenage years.

“At that stage of development, a fully hormonal male who declares themselves a woman has a significant physiological advantage in terms of heart size, density of muscles and ability to perform,” he said.

“Once you get into the teenage years, girls are just not able to keep up.”

According to research by the Sports Medicine journal, testosterone suppression has only a modest effect on diminishing muscle mass and strength.

Depending on the sport, “the performance gap between males and females becomes significant at puberty” can reach upwards of 50%, according to the authors of the review.

However, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport contends that trans-women athletes who have undergone testosterone suppression “have no clear biological advantages over cis women in elite sport.”

The OTA and Tennis Canada did not respond to requests for comment by the National Post.

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