Riley Gaines hits out at parents of 'cheating' transgender athlete expected to win fifth college title

Wednesday 7 February 2024

US college swimmer Riley Gaines has criticised a New Hampshire transgender high school student that has won the women’s high jump event four times.

Maelle Jacques, a male who identifies as a woman, is the only competitor who has jumped over five feet this season, beating the girls’ season best by 0.75 inches.

This weekend, the Kearsarge Regional High School student from North Sutton will compete in the college state championship where he is expected to win again.

The body overseeing college sports in New Hampshire allows athletes to compete in whichever event aligns with their gender identity.

But Ms Gaines, an outspoken critic of trans-identifying men competing against women, hit out at Jacques and his parents who she accused of cheating.

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"How could the parents of this boy allow their son to cheat deserving women out of opportunities? And why don't the parents of the girls stand up and say ‘no’ for their daughters?

“This country is full of failing, gutless mothers and fathers.”

Swimmer Riley Gaines has campaigned against men competing in women's events

Last year, Jacques came second in the girls 1600m at the state championships, managed fifth place in the high Jump, and thirteenth in the long jump.

He also helped the girls team to a championship trophy after winning the 1600m and the high jump at the Wilderness Championships.

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Maelle Jacques is expected to win the high jump at this year's New Hampshire college championships

A spokeswoman for Kearsarge Regional School District has defended the decision to allow Jacques to compete in the girls’ events.

In a written statement, superintendent Winfried Feneberg said: “Kearsarge supports all students and student-athletes regardless of their gender identity.

“Each student-athlete has the right to compete in the activity of their choice.

“The New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association’s stance on this issue is clear:  Denying that opportunity is a violation of equal rights afforded under state and federal law.

"Further, we believe that limiting access to any activity violates our core mission and vision, which are grounded in supporting every student and student-athlete’s right to pursue their goals and interests.”

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