Former snooker champ claims trans inclusion would somehow ‘end women’s sport’

A cisgender woman and former UK snooker champion has claimed trans people competing in the tabletop game would be the “end of women’s sport”.

British Open snooker champ Maria Catalano made the claims after trans player Jamie Hunter won a women’s circuit tournament in Seattle, becoming the first trans woman to do so.

Catalano said that “90 per cent of the players on the women’s tour don’t agree with this”, while making various psychological statements, such as women are “wired differently.”

“I don’t believe that women can compete against men on a level playing field in sport,” Catalano told The Telegraph, blatantly misgendering Hunter.

“We are wired differently, we think different. We are mentally different, and I do believe 100 per cent there is an advantage there even in snooker after transition.”

Jamie Hunter stands aside officators during the US women's snooker open
Jamie Hunter celebrates her win at the US women’s snooker open in Seattle. (@DianaUNLIKE/Twitter)

She also suggested cisgender female snooker players were inferior to men, saying: “Reanne Evans is the best woman player I have seen and even she can’t crack it against the men.

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“I don’t want to see the end of women’s sport, it has been too hushed up. I would totally change the rules, and bring ours into line with women’s sports that have banned transgender athletes.”

Elite swimming body International Swimming Federation (FINA) voted to effectively ban trans female athletes from swimming competitions on 20 June. The announcement started several reconsiderations of trans policy from various other sporting bodies – some siding with FINA, while others chose to maintain or bring about inclusive policy.

Designated as a “precision sport” by the International Olympic Committee, snooker had been relatively quiet on the issue as the physical demands of snooker players are relatively low, but this hasn’t stopped pundits from using the sport as an angle for anti-trans viewpoints.

For Hunter, winning the tournament with a 4-1 victory over Rebecca Kenna came with the abusive baggage of so-called “gender-critical” backlash. On social media, Hunter has received a huge amount of abuse for simply winning a championship.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Hunter said of her win: “Honestly, I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet. My tournament wins never feel real until I see my dad. The pride and joy in his eyes when I see him, that’s when I know I’m a champion.”