Halba Diouf feels hounded and marginalised by World Athletics ruling on transgender athletes ©Getty Images

French sprinter Halba Diouf has spoken out saying she feels she is being marginalised and hounded out of sport after her dream of participating at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games ended when World Athletics banned transgender women from female competition.

The 21-year-old had been training to compete in the 200 metres event in her country's capital next year.

However, her hopes were dashed in March when the governing body ruled that transgender women who have gone through male puberty were not allowed to compete in women's events.

World Athletics took the decision citing a "need to protect the female category". 

"I cannot understand this decision as transgender women have always been allowed to compete if their testosterone levels were below a certain threshold," Diouf told Reuters.

"The only safeguard transgender women have is their right to live as they wish and we are being refused that, we are being hounded - I feel marginalised because they are excluding me from competitions."

Senegalese-born Diouf arrived in France aged four before moving to Aix-en-Provence as an adult where she started hormone therapy to change sex.

Her gender transition was then recognised by French authorities in 2021.

Diouf's endocrinologist, Alain Berliner, said Diouf "is a woman, from a physiological, hormonal and legal point of view."

"Her testosterone levels are currently below those found on average in women who were born as women" he said, as reported by Reuters.

Until World Athletics introduced its new rules, transgender women and athletes with Differences in Sex Development (DSD) could take part in elite events between 400m and a mile if their testosterone levels were below five nanomoles per litre.

That was then cut by half to 2.5 nanomoles per litre and must be maintained for at least 24 months before DSD athletes can compete in female competitions.