'We don't make the rules': Pacific transgender athletes can only compete at Sol2023 if governing bodies allow

Transgender or athletes with "Differences of Sexual Development" (DSD) will be allowed to compete at the Pacific Games or Mini Games if the relevant international federation allows them to, the head of the Pacific Games Council says.

On 24 March, World Athletics announced new regulations that would completely bar transgender male-to-female athletes from participating in its competitions.

The governing body also announced stricter restrictions on athletes with DSD which is expected to impact champion Olympic athletes.

"Our position is quite simple," council president Vidya Lakhan told RNZ Pacific.

"So, we are always guided by the respective international federations.

"When we include a particular sport in the Games' programme, we get the endorsement, the clarification or approval of the international federation."

He said once the council received the appropriate clearance from the international federations in accordance with its charter "those sports are conducted in accordance with the International Federation technical rules".

"We do not make the technical rules for the various sports we have on our programme. If they allow athletes to participate in the games, we will allow that.

"And if they say no transgender athletes then we will not allow them and we will abide by the decision. We just just leave it at that," he added.

Past concerns

Solomon Islands will host the 2023 Pacific Games from 19 November to 2 December.

The games is expected to attract almost 5000 participants from 24 countries competing in 24 different sports in Honiara.

Lakhan said there were issues at the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa where the inclusion of some transgender athletes became controversial.

That included New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard who had won gold in the 87kg category ahead of Samoan flag-bearer at the 2019 Games Feagaiga Stowers.

Hubbard later went on the represent Aotearoa as the first transgender athlete to compete at an Olympics Games in Tokyo 2020.


The decision to allow transgender athletes to participate in Solomon Islands Games will be guided by the respective international federations. Photo: sol2023.com.sb