Transgender woman who earlier competed in men's division wins women's national title in 400 meter hurdle at NCAA championship
A transgender woman who previously competed as a man was able to successfully win the women's national title in the 400-meter hurdle at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
CeCe Telfer grabbed the title at the 2019 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships for Franklin Pierce University on May 25. Her victory has added to the already raging controversy over transgender athletes having an unfair advantage while competing in women's sports.
Telfer completed the course in 57.53 seconds while the second place competitor trailed far behind with a timing of 59.21s. She also earned the All-American First Team honors when she finished fifth in the 100m hurdles earlier that day.
As reported by DailyMail, Telfer's coach Zach Emerson praised the team member's performance and said, "It was tough conditions out here with the wind and the heat over the last three days but, as she has over the last six months, CeCe proved herself to be tough enough to handle it. Today was a microcosm of her entire season; she was not going to let anything slow her down. I've never met anybody as strong as her mentally in my entire life."
Telfer was born and raised as Craig and had competed on the men's team at the Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire between 2016 and 2018, even though she would personally identify as a woman. During the 2016-2017 season, Telfer did not make it in the top 200 male athletes in the event. She last competed as Craig in 2018.
She finished eighth in a field of nine in the Men's 400 meters which had taken place at the Middlebury Winter Classic in Vermont. Telfer then resigned post the race from the men's team and decided to undergo a gender reassignment surgery before joining the women's team in October.
As per NCAA guidelines, male athletes can compete as women if they are able to suppress their testosterone levels for a full calendar year.
Before they reach the year mark, they can compete on the mixed-sex teams in the men's division but not women's. Her coach Emerson believes that the immense improvement shown this current season versus before comes down to the increased amount of effort she has put in.
"She's been incredibly motivated this year and I think the transition one million percent had something to do with that. It's like night and day as far as what she was willing to do as an athlete and how committed she was."
Telfer's most recent championship which secured her the gold medal in the event and has restarted the debate over whether transgender athletes are being handled fairly.