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A transgender athlete has won nine medals in events designated for women.
Valentina Petrillo, a 49-year-old biological male from Italy, won the bronze medal in the women's Para Athletics World Championship 400m race in Paris on Thursday. Petrillo finished the race in 58.24, behind Alejandra Perez Lopez of Venezuela (57.88) and Omara Durand of Cuba (52.82). The winner of the men's 400m race had a time of 49.57.
The race was specifically for female runners with vision impairment. Petrillo competed in the women’s T12 classification – which is defined as "vision constricted to a radius of less than five degrees and/or the ability to recognize a moving object at a distance of one meter."
The Para Athletics World Championship are events designated for Paralympic athletes.
The World Para Athletics organization notes, "Athletes compete according to their sport specific classification in each event. Some compete in wheelchairs and some with prostheses, while vision impaired athletes are supported by a sighted guide."
Petrillo became the first transgender athlete in the international Paralympic Women's Championship in 2021. Since identifying as a woman, Petrillo snatched the Italian record Italian for the 200-meter T12 (27.17) and the indoor 400-meter T13 (59.77).
This year, Petrillo won a national master’s title and garnered a spot in the World Masters Indoor Athletics Championship in Poland in March. However, Petrillo claimed to withdraw from the women's athletic event due to "hatred" and safety concerns.
Petrillo reportedly wrote in a since-deleted Facebook post, "As an athlete, I wish good luck for the upcoming competition in which I will not participate for reasons of safety and personal safety as indicated by the organizers given the fomentation of hatred against me."
Petrillo told the BBC in 2021 that putting on a dress at age nine was "an incredible emotion. It was like touching heaven with your finger tip."
Petrillo first openly talked about transitioning to a female in 2017, and started transitioning from male to female in 2019 with hormone therapy.
Petrillo told the BBC, "I'm happy as a woman and running as a woman is all I want. I couldn't ask for more."
The trans runner proclaimed, "Better to be a slow happy woman than a fast unhappy man."
"I respect and comply with the IOC and World Athletics rules, I do the tests," Petrillo said. "I don't feel like I'm stealing anything from anyone."
In 2021, the International Olympic Committee implemented a framework to allow transgender athletes to participate in Olympic events.
CNN previously reported, "The previous policy allowed transgender athletes to compete provided their testosterone levels were below a certain limit for at least 12 months before their first competition."
Peter Eriksson, former head coach for the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic program, told Reduxx, "It's shocking to see that women’s opportunities to a medal were taken by a cheating 49-year-old male. The International Paralympic Committee is diminishing the rights of fairness in women’s sport by allowing transgender athletes at their events."
"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," Eriksson opined. "They adapted World Athletics rules and should also adopt the World Athletics regulation on transgender and DSD participation."
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Paul Sacca is a staff writer for Blaze News.