A trans woman fencer led the U.S. to gold at this week's Veteran Fencing World Championships, sparking outrage from "women’s sports advocates".
Liz Kocab, who competed in the women’s 70+ division, bested 14-time champion Marja-Liisa Someroja of Finland to win her eighth world title on Sunday, according to ‘NBC Montana’. Though Kocab was originally thinking of stepping away from the sport, the fencer said she decided to return to the competition this year out of support for USA fencing.
“I wanted to support USA Fencing,” Kocab said. “I really did. Otherwise, I was actually thinking of stepping away. But the fact that it was in America, I thought that was important to support the USA. This is my way of saying thanks to USA Fencing.”
Kocab will now advance to the team event where two fencers from each country in the 50s, 60s and 70+ divisions will again compete for gold.
Women’s sports advocate Riley Gaines sounded off on the victory, posting a video of Kocab on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, in which the fencer says she is “not quite sure” what allows her to keep winning.
“Liz Kocab (male) wins his 8th Fencing World Championship title...in the women's category,” Gaines wrote on X. “Winning a title as a male in the women's category doesn't make you a champion. It makes you an entitled cheat.”
Also speaking out was Marshi Smith, co-founder of the Independent Council on Women’s Sports, who lamented changes to women’s sports.
“This man will retire as one of the greatest women’s fencers of all time because @FIE_fencing and @Olympics made female fencing a joke,” Smith said.
The competition is the latest to spark controversy online as advocates debate inclusion efforts based around transgender athletes. Earlier this month, a Maine high schooler placed in the top five of a cross country race as a female competitor one year after competing in the male division.
In August, the world’s leading chess federation banned transgender women from competing in female events, citing a “significant impact on a player’s status and future eligibility to tournaments.”
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