Snooker chief hails first transgender winner and says issues with other sports don't apply

August 29, 2022
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WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson has congratulated Jamie Hunter after she became the first transgender player to win a ranking event.

Hunter, who came out as transgender in 2019, defeated pre-tournament favourite Rebecca Kenna 4-1 to win the US Women's Open on Sunday. The topic of transgender athletes in sport has become a major talking point in recent years, with swimming, rugby union, rugby league banning transgender women from competing.

However, Ferguson has stated that snooker has no intention of institution a similar ban as it is considered a 'precision sport' by the IOC and the 'physical aspect is not such a big problem' when compared to other sports.

He said: "From the outset we went to the IOC for advice, as we felt they were best placed to help set policies on the issue. That policy in fact remains in place for us in the Women’s World Snooker Tour.

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"The IOC have since changed direction on it as a result of various controversial arguments and it became the individual sport’s own responsibility. So some have done their own thing, but we felt the original policy was right for us.

"And that came after taking medical advice and input from many other sources. It essentially comes down to the physical aspect not being such a big problem.

"I understand it more in for example rugby, and that must have made it a more difficult decision for them. Physical strength sports, like rugby or boxing – you understand you have to be very careful in a safety sense.


"But we are not a physical sport. We are classed as a precision sport by the IOC, which we are. And we are therefore not too dissimilar from archery or shooting and those kind of sports, even if stamina might at some point be relevant.

"There is nothing that tells us that women cannot compete to the same level in snooker as a man on any physical grounds. There is a set number of nanomoles per litre for the testosterone.

"Athletes self-certificate and they can produce if questions are raised, and we can request a referral. And if there are those who think that Jamie should not be competing, or even other women players, I would reiterate all of the above.

WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson congratulated Hunter on her win
WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson congratulated Hunter on her win

"Plus I would just stress that we have taken sufficient medical advice to be very satisfied that the our policy is right for the current climate. And I would like to also take this opportunity to warmly congratulate Jamie Hunter, I am delighted for winning that US Open.

"You have to remember that for someone to have even got to that point to move forward in their lives and considering their own gender identity – there is such a lot of process and things they have gone through already. And weighing that up against these arguments that she shouldn’t be allowed to play – in snooker, for us, it just doesn’t add up.

"Being more open reflects the sport itself. We are in many ways unique, and that allows us unique rules."


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