Rachel McKinnon: Transgender athlete sets new world best time in cycling sprint

Rachel McKinnon (centre) pictured with Jen Wagner-Assali (right), who called her victory "unfair"

Transgender athlete Rachel McKinnon set a new world best time in qualifying as she started the defence of her world masters sprint title.

McKinnon, 37, is competing in the female 35-39 sprint category at the Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Manchester.

The prominent trans rights campaigner has defended her right to compete.

Some notable female athletes have argued transgender athletes should not compete in female competitions.

They claim women who were born biological males retain a competitive advantage in some sport and have called for more research into the issue.

Ex-swimmer Sharron Davies says it will take female athletes “being thrown under the bus” at Tokyo 2020 before changes are made to transgender rules.

McKinnon won the 35-44-year-old category last year but Jen Wagner-Assali, who finished third, called it “unfair” and wants cycling’s international governing body to change its rules.

Earlier this week, Athletics’ governing body the IAAF said trans female athletes must lower their levels of testosterone.

McKinnon finished in a time of 11.649 seconds in her qualifying race on Friday to set a new world best time, with American Dawn Orwick second in 12.063.

The final takes place on Saturday as McKinnon looks to add to the silver she won in the 500m time trial earlier this week.

When asked about whether she should be allowed to compete, she told Sky News: “By preventing trans women from competing or requiring them to take medication, you’re denying their human rights.”

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