Members of the England ladies’ angling team have refused to take part in the world championships after a trans woman was allowed to be in the lineup.
The six-strong squad opted against competing in Italy at the Shore Angling World Championships during November following a decision to include Becky Lee Birtwhistle Hodges.
Their decision was reported three months after the team took the step of refusing to battle it out in the home nations competition.
They did so as Ms Hodges again was given a place in the team.
The selection proved to be controversial as the former rugby player is able to cast her line at least twice as far as many women.
It led the team’s captain to say they felt “humiliated” when they won bronze with her at the 2018 world championships.
Heather, 66, who asked that her surname not be published, in an interview with the Mail on Sunday, said: “It wasn’t a nice situation, mainly because all the other countries wouldn’t speak to us.
“The managers wouldn’t speak to our manager. They were all against us. When we went up to collect our medal, nobody clapped and people walked out.
”Although Becky Lee would be an asset to my team, it’s unfair on everyone else. And if you win in a situation like that, you can’t enjoy the victory, because it feels like you’ve cheated.
“It’s a shame because the other girls would have applied for the World Championships if Becky Lee hadn’t been involved.”
She added: “Many of the Angling Trust board members don’t fish and don’t know the sport,’ she said. ‘A man can cast 150 yards, but I can only cast about 70 yards. Some of the girls can only cast 50 yards. Body strength plays a major part and it gives Becky Lee a lot more water that she can fish in.”
But the Angling Trust, the sport’s governing body, has denied that trans women have a significant advantage and has refused to block Ms Hodges from applying to join the England team.
Ms Hodges had sex-reassignment surgery during 2019 and is said to have fished since she was 10, according to a profile on an angling website.
But Sport England has ordered a review of diversity policy among all sport governing bodies to ensure “safety, fairness and inclusion”.
The Angling Trust said the gender of an angler was based on their passport or gender recognition certificate.
“This review is yet to be completed, and until it is our policy remains the same,” they said. “Team selection is currently based on this policy, but our ongoing consultation with women’s team members and managers, which will be a key part of our review, could see this change.”
The Sunday Telegraph has approached the Angling Trust for further comment.