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now on bbc news, hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk. i'm stephen saga. elite level sport is ruthlessly competitive. the best male and female athletes push hard against their physical limits in the quest for those marginal gains. but what happens when athletes change gender? in particular, when individuals born biologically male transition to female after puberty. should they be allowed to compete as women? well, my guest is former champion british swimmer turned sports commentator sharron davies. how well does the sporting notion of fairness cope with the complexities of gender identity?
sharron davies, welcome to hardtalk. thank you. you spent a lifetime and sport as a champion swimmer and competitor but also as a commentator and analyst. i want to begin with this concept of dennis in sport. what does fairness mean to you? —— fairness. it means equal opportunities between the sexes. equal opportunities to win medals, scholarships, to get the profile, to create a platform to get sponsorship, to have the career of a successful athlete. it means, sponsorship, to have the career of a successfulathlete. it means, i suppose, all sorts of things. having a level playing field as much as we possibly can get. i am passionate,
as for many things i have had in my life, to get that level playing field. as a competing athlete it's very ha rd to field. as a competing athlete it's very hard to raise your head above the pulpit at the moment to raise your opinions and i think vera has done that. just that we have two try to do our bit. —— here has done that. it no way reflects our opinions on what way people choose to live their life in gender, this is just rheology in sport. to live their life in gender, this isjust rheology in sport. we will get to that. you have raised your voice in a way that has become very heated. i just want to stick with fairness a little bit longer in its broadest sense. you just talked about a level playing field, but the playing field is never level in sport because we are all born with different physical attributes for a start. but we also have different economic circumstances. some of us are lucky enough to have parents that can train us from a young age, others do not. there is nothing about sporting success that is really about that level playing
field. but it's about creating as level the playing field as we possibly can. if you just take the success possibly can. if you just take the success that we have had in the uk over the last few years in regards to lottery which has levelled us in regards to russia and america that have been supporting their athletes, thatis have been supporting their athletes, that is something that has been injected into british sport and means that we have done incredibly well in the limbic games since well, 1996 was the last time we won one gold medal and decided we needed to help our athletes. so we came up with a lottery so we could financially support them. —— the olympic games. there are all sorts of things that give us a slight advantage, i agree, of things that give us a slight advantage, iagree, that of things that give us a slight advantage, i agree, that you may have slightly bigger feet than the person you stand next to, but that person you stand next to, but that person might had a does not have a better recovery rate. so we're trying not to give massive advantages away. if you look at an olympic final, by the way, the majority of people doing the 100 metres track, they were finished
within less than 1% of each other. that's eight people. if you went to the next 2a, they wouldn't be more than1.5%. the next 2a, they wouldn't be more than 1.5%. the differences now are so than 1.5%. the differences now are so marginaland so than 1.5%. the differences now are so marginal and so tiny that if you put someone who has a 10% advantage, well, straightaway, you can't live in the same ballpark. and i know we will go back to that again. take me back stop but before we get there, you, personally as a sportswoman, as a competitor. you started out very young as a competitive swimmer. at the age of 13 you were swimming for britain in the olympics. that used to be standard, like gymnastics. well, reflect with me for that in those years, we're going back to 1980. swimming in the pool with athletes from the former soviet empire, countries like the gdr, did you feel that there was a level playing field in any way at that
time? no, there wasn't. it was a 20 year window where the east germans we re year window where the east germans were on a state— run doping programme. it was quite basic, still runnable and testosterone that they we re runnable and testosterone that they were using on athletes. this is cheating. there were rules even back then. of course. our doping system was not big enough. there was no random testing, it was very basic and not very good. there was an east german dock that was on the doping panel so —— doctor, so they knew what was coming. i was invited to look at the stasi files later. are you talking about petro schneider who beat you to the gold medal in the olympics? you came second. when you touch the end of the bull and
realised you were second does make a pool realised you were second does make a pool, did you feel cheated? and before that. i had one bronze medals at the european champions league is behind two east germans behind out, pretty much all of my international career against east germans, all of my bronze and silver medals were against them. so the greedy that drugs cheating had dominated your sport —— agreed. just a few weeks ago there was a sprinter in berlin who has suffered physically a great dealfrom the drugs who has suffered physically a great deal from the drugs that she essentially was forced to take as a teenager because her father who was a stasi member colluded with the authorities to give her a blue pill asa authorities to give her a blue pill as a talented sprinting athlete adds as a talented sprinting athlete adds a young age —— at a young age. coming back to you, your east german
rivals had terrible skin, deep voices, five o'clock shadows, you said. so you knew, you physically knew that these young women were doing some very different stop yes. they would arrive at events and we had never seen them before they would arrive at world championships and they would compete and you had never seen and they would compete and you had never seen them before. that would never seen them before. that would never happen. you have to work your way through junior ranks and improve ata way through junior ranks and improve at a slow rate at that level, and they would come from nowhere. the 9% that they could improve and make an improvement from. you could take an average swimmer, improvement from. you could take an average swimmer, a club swimmer, and turn them into a world record holder? why did you not shouted from the rooftops? we did. we did. my father used to constantly remonstrate about it, he never got selected as an international coach because he would often say so much about it. so, you then became an
a nalyst about it. so, you then became an analyst and commentator in your own sport, swimming. so i put it to you that when you took that role, a different observer role. you didn't speak as loud as you might have done on various occasions. i'm thinking of one occasion in the 1996 olympics where an irish swimmer...” of one occasion in the 1996 olympics where an irish swimmer... i did. i got told off by the bbc! a bbc representative. in the first interviews with her, you didn't actually raise the questions which are in so many people's mind because her performance levels had dramatically changed. are trained with her in toronto. i knew what type of athlete she was. she had been to two olympic games previously, she was not that talented as an athlete. she was a terrier, a hard worker and intelligent lady. all of a sudden she had a relationship with a field coach that became her boyfriend. she went and trained by herself and everybody knew. the problem you have with all of that stephen is that you still have to have evidence. you
know? because ultimately you can't accuse somebody stop you can ask how come you have made such a big improvement? and i think i did that every time she did an interview. she said it's because she was training by herself and keeping it a secret. but as a bbc employee, i was told i had to not ask certain questions. never mind the bbc, let's be honest with each other. were you, to a certain extent, still an insider in a certain spot that find it difficult to come to terms with the scale of cheating. chinese swimming in the 90s was rife with drugs. do insiders find it difficult to speak out? again you have to have proof stop the bbc had a record that stood into one of those athletes took it. it was very much a drug filled world record. it is frustrating, we do speak about it. at the end of the
day you still have to have the proof foran day you still have to have the proof for an athlete can be banned. and we talked about the irish swimmer earlier, ultimately she was found guilty with a you're in sample, not guilty with a you're in sample, not guilty of taking illegal drugs. —— you're in. a lot of people received medals they shouldn't have received. were going to move on to gender issues in a moment. but the fact that you never won olympic gold in so that you never won olympic gold in so many people wanted to see you win, you then made a much later attend in the late 90s to get the aoc to acknowledge that the person who beat you was a tutor and that in effect you should have had the gold medal, but that never came to pass -- ioc. it was all part of a documentary. it was all about trying to find the story behind, as went to dresden, i was shown lots of lichen white film was the muscle biopsies
which were horrendous, and we saw the proof of what they were taking when they were taking it. i met petra, i was nursing my own little girl, a second one gracie who is now 20. i took her with me and it was two years. in the eye of petra because she wanted more kids and she couldn't have more children. i have massive empathy for these athletes and what they have been put through, however i get very frustrated that the ioc do not put a serious wrong right. even if it is just an * the ioc do not put a serious wrong right. even if it isjust an * in the record books in the ioc, it is difficult for them to acknowledge it didn't happen. let's fast forward to another issue that raises from the question of fairness in sport and it is the that you have waded into in a big way with a very public profile and lots of commentary from yourself thatis and lots of commentary from yourself that is this is the, not explicit cheating —— issue. it's a bout those particular individuals who
biologically are born male, but who identify as female. they transition, they call themselves women, they don't necessarily have surgery, they live their lives as women and they wa nt to live their lives as women and they want to compete in sport as women and you have a problem with that. the rules changed. in 2015—16 no longer do you need to have surgery, no longer do you need to have a doctor's diagnosis for gender dysphoria. no longer do need to have long—term hormone replacement, you just have to... will they do need to have hormone therapies. one year. and testosterone levels a message that marked our measured. just one year. we don't even have enough money at the moment to test or... these are guidelines —— four. these are guidelines set by the ioc. and then those guidelines are adapted. with the iaaf, that level of five
nanomole. so that's per litre of blood. the guidelines changed recently and they are very different from what they were previously. so the problem you've got now is that people need to just self identify. so they have the benefit from puberty, muscle memory, increased cardiovascular system, puberty, muscle memory, increased cardiovascularsystem, bigger puberty, muscle memory, increased cardiovascular system, bigger heart, bigger lungs, denser bone structure. angle of hip to the needy, hands, feet, being taller —— the needy. all of this results from production of testosterone. there are a lot of benefits. fascinating. let's comment eliza tibbett —— comments are lies it's a bit. these issues aren't about gender identity, this girl that we were talking about earlier,
she is a woman. that is a separate case. it is important because there has been a case. it's very important but it raises certain issues. those who choose to transition who are born biologically male but identify asa born biologically male but identify as a woman and want to compete as a woman, having undertaken hormone therapies. they have undertaken them however going to do that without undertaking treatment? coinage due for testosterone to be reduced if you take a contraception pill. that's all she has to do to reduce testosterone levels. let's not get stuck on caster semenya. same protocol would be used. you just asked me about transgender, a mother and that question, let me answer it or don't. now i want to hear the answer. all you need to do is reduce your level to five or ten if it is
the ioc guidelines. all of the associations are finding their way. some of them like the american problem —— association say x export athletes will be protected, they said this is not going to happen but thatis said this is not going to happen but that is where i'm coming from the and you like that because it seems to me, underpinning your grave concerns about what is happening with these transgender athletes, there is believe they are gaming the system, the they are... that they could potentially gamma system. you treated our recently to protect women sport those with a male sex advantage should not be able to compete in women sport. as though their entire objective was simply to sort of transition for the purpose of winning metals. —— metals. you
are putting words in my mouth. you said people are gaming the system. no, i'm saying this potentialfor rules to be bent or broken and used the same of those potential with the east germans all those years ago. what i'm saying is that i don't understand how the potential of a 10% benefit which is the difference on the whole between male and female and it does make early performances, in some cases it is 20%. highjump is 18 or 19%, the difference tween and elite female and an elite mail. if you ignore that benefit, women, natal females will not be able to read any of their metals, any other sports scholarships, any of their profile opportunities to be able to get platform. how is that fair? we are ina get platform. how is that fair? we are in a society where 50% of us are women. do you understand when you ask that question, depose the problem in the way that you have, do you understand why for example, some
transgender athletes such as rachel mckinnon, a very important doctor, also a top—level side plus —— cycles. she was competing in the mail events. she would be in the 70 age category. what you have said smacks of being transferred because of can you understand that?” absolutely dispute that comment. i don't think i'm transferring to shape issue before. i'm absolutely happy for anyone to live the life life they want to. gender is a social constraint and anyone can choose to be whichever gender they like to live socially, that's fine. they're not hurting anyone, live how you want to live. however, sport is based on biology. so if we were in
sport, we need to categorise it by sex. by the chromosomes that you're born with and that is something that if you want to protect, female spot, if you want to protect, female spot, if you want young girls to be able to be involved in sport and make their dreams come true, they have to protect them otherwise it won't happen, we will lose that opportunity. without getting too deep into that biology and science, this interesting work —— work by joanna harper, she looked at runners who i transgender joanna harper, she looked at runners who i tra nsgender the joanna harper, she looked at runners who i transgender the 89 elite athletes. she looked at physical attributes having gone through the hormone therapy is a due showed that in terms of the new levels of fat they had their bodies, the loss of muscle mass, the loss of strength, there is a real impact from hormone therapy that did mean that they were therapy that did mean that they were the same as transgender women as they had been as men. the directors all the benefits that i mentioned are thereon and it was a non— elite pub —— knowledge people they were
using. i accept there is an awful lot evidence the opposite way. but that of a honestly sitting here and tell me that you don't believe that men are stronger than ever? no, i'm not saying that at all. i can tell you category —— categorically that the level is 10%. by the people who suffer from this condition, gender dysphoria and they are wanting to transition, they are transgender, you seem transition, they are transgender, you seem to be suggesting some of them may do it to seek glory and victory in a sporting arena and i am saying... he was saying they have gender dysphoria?” saying... he was saying they have gender dysphoria? i suppose this is where... could you answer my question though? but he was deciding they have gender dysphoria ? question though? but he was deciding they have gender dysphoria? they no longer have to see a doctor. this is a personal self id basis. you don't trust the transgender community? no, i'm saying that in sport it is not fairon
i'm saying that in sport it is not fair on females to lose their platform to be able to compete on as level platform as we can create for them to have the same opportunities that males, born males could have. washable malls have this chance and born females don't get it? i don't understand. in this conviction that venice remains at the heart of this, let us finally get back to something we mentioned earlier. caster semenya, a world—class medal winning african runner, she was born with a condition which means she has very high levels of testosterone. she was born with differences of sexual development. and the result is that she has high levels of testosterone was up caster semenya is 46 xy, you know what that is don't you? so you know what that is don't you? so you know that? so would the bbc like to say what that means? they did report —— they did not report this one.” think it's called scientifically
hyper androgynous and which means she has various attributes which too many people are confusing in terms of her sex. you are 46 xy. i'm not. i'm 46x of her sex. you are 46 xy. i'm not. i'm 46 x x. caster semenya was 46 xy. it's an extremely unusual situation. if she had been born in this country, she would have had a blood test straightaway and caster semenya would have probably had an ultrasound scan which would have revealed internal tests. she would have been brought up as a boy. she was born in africa. this test are coming down in africa now because the promises are getting better. let's end this conversation about caster semenya because we don't know what's going to happen but you support that she should be banned
from running? no, iwould like support that she should be banned from running? no, i would like to see us from running? no, i would like to see us moving forward in all sport that we protect a female category. but there is an ex— ex— female category going forward. we have an open honest debate that has been closed by name—calling, to discuss how we make an inclusive for everybody forced —— increases for everybody. we are closing everybody down by calling people names. let's not do that but very specifically, caster semenya is one of the great athletes of our time, where should she be running in your view? you talk about open category, different categories, using she has to run her own? here is another interesting statistic. as far as the world health organization is concerned, 0.01% of the publisher. —— publishing. explain why all this
female athletes and others condition and there is no advantage was not when you look at sport, whether it be in this poor on the racetrack, do you believe in it, do you actually regarded as fair competition?m there as it possibly can be. i am involved in my swimming. i'm doing it with 445 years. i believe that my sport swimming is pretty clean, we still have cheats in swimming, same as they have cheats in pretty much every walk of life. the bigger the reward, the usually more number of cheats there are, that is the nature of humans. we can't give up on it, i do believe we have to put our hands in the airand do believe we have to put our hands in the air and say we are further. we have to keep trying to make the playing field is level and despair and bring him as much equalityjust spot as you can to stop if we do this to women sport, women will lose the equal opportunities and that is not fair. it has been a pleasure,
thank you very much. hello there. the weather is not looking too bad over the next few days. a mixture of dry spells and a few passing showers but the temperatures are going to be doing reasonably well over the next few days, pushing into the low 20s in the next four spots. we will look at what happened yesterday weatherwise and we had plenty of showers around, stretching from dorset across the midlands and into lincolnshire is where we had the heaviest downpours caused by the winds bashing together, forced to rise, making these big showers that were heavy and slow—moving in nature. the rain coming down so heavily
in warwickshire that it was bouncing off the roads on the pavements. why am i telling you about this? we will see similar things setting up later on today, i will explain more in the moment but over the next few hours, a lot of cloud around, fog patches, lincolnshire, north—east england, northeast scotland. still a few showers in the north—west but it's not going to be a cold start to the day. temperatures 8—12. as we go through monday morning, the weather again and will slowly brighten up with some sunny intervals breaking out, probably the best of these across wales and south—west england. these convergence zones, one of them affecting eastern scotland, this is where you are most likely to catch a shower, slow—moving, heavy, thundery as well. a few showers for northern ireland and wales.
where the sunshine does come through, it should feel reasonably pleasant. looking at the weather picture into tuesday, pressure starts to build across western parts of the country and at the same time, a weak weather front across the far north of scotland, bringing thicker cloud and threatening rain mainly into the northern isles. a few showers popping up, particularly across eastern areas of england. more of us should enjoy more in a way of dry weather, particularly across western parts of the uk. on until wednesday, pressure builds a sofa most of us, a dry day with sunshine. the obvious exception is across northern scotland. we have cloudy weather, outbreaks of rain sitting and the rain accompanied by northerly winds and quite a cold day in lerwick, temperatures coming down in aberdeen and the best of the sunshine further south, still feeling pleasant with temperatures into the low 20s. as we get towards the end of the week, it looks like low pressure will move in in one guise or another so a greater chance of seeing some rain by friday. that's your weather.
you're watching newsday on the bbc. i'm sharanjit leyl in singapore. the headlines: india's governing party bjp welcomes the latest exit polls, suggesting narendra modi is on track for a second term as pm. a dramatic escalation in us tensions with chinese tech firms as google suspends some business with huawei. i'm lewis vaughanjones in london. also in the programme: how good is that win? well done. with final votes being counted in australia, prime minister scott morrison is one seat away from an outright majority.