Olympics organisers are confident transsexuals will be allowed to compete in the 2008 Beijing Games under their new gender. 'It is not clear if the new proposals will be introduced in time for Athens [in August this year] ... but they should be in place for the Beijing Games,' said Emmanuelle Moreau, an International Olympic Committee spokeswoman. Officials from the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games would not comment on the issue yesterday, but said that in preparing for the Games they 'always followed the guidelines and regulations stipulated by the IOC'. Ms Moreau said the IOC was looking to liberalise the rules because in 'the past few years, governments and society have been moving towards the acceptance and legal recognition of people who have undergone sex reassignment'. IOC medical director Patrick Schamasch and IOC president Jacques Rogge, who is also a medical doctor, presented the proposal at an IOC executive board meeting in Greece at the end of last month but it failed to reach a consensus. Dr Rogge, said after the meeting that many board members had failed to grasp 'a very difficult medical problem'. Ms Moreau said the proposal would be rewritten in layman's terms and put to the board again in May. 'The board supports this proposal but we now have to clearly define the exact medical criteria that will be used to decide who can compete,' she said. Admitting transsexuals is contentious because of the belief that men who have become women have a physical advantage over athletes who were born women, as men have higher levels of testosterone, larger heart and lung capacity, and a greater muscle-to-fat ratio. But Dr Schamasch said specialists agreed that testosterone levels and muscle mass declined after sex-change surgery and hormone therapy.