OPINION | This article contains the author's opinion.
49-year-old Valentina Petrillo defeated all but two women competing in the 400-meter race at the 2023 World Para Athletics Championships in Paris.
Petrillo, a biological male who identifies as female, took home the bronze medal. This adds to Petrillo’s list of accolades while competing around the world in women’s events.
Petrillo’s victory in Paris eliminated Fatima Ezzahra El Idrissi of Morocco from the winner’s circle.
Petrillo began taking estrogen as recently as 2019. Within one year, Petrillo began crushing Italian women’s running records.
Petrillo has won eight women’s running championships, but has never won a single championship competing in the men’s division.
Transgender competitors are allowed to compete in the World Para Athletics Championships because the organization follows International Olympic Committee (IOC) guidelines.
Peter Erikkson, the former Canadian Olympic head coach, disagree with the World Para Athletic’s decision.
“It’s shocking to see that women’s opportunities to a medal were taken by a cheating 49-year-old male,” Eriksson said.
“The International Paralympic Committee is diminishing the rights of fairness in women’s sport by allowing transgender athletes at their events.”
Erikkson said, “It’s a cop-out not to make a stance in support of women in sport. It feels kind of like they are trying to push the blame onto the IOC.”
“They adapted World Athletics rules and should also adopt the World Athletics regulation on transgender and DSD participation,” he concluded.