Half of the England ladies’ angling team have quit in protest after a trans woman was selected to join the squad for a major competition, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Three members of the six-strong squad stepped down after Becky Lee Birtwhistle Hodges, who was born male, was named for next month’s physically challenging Home Nations shore fishing championship.
There has been opposition to former rugby player Birtwhistle Hodges competing with England since 2018, when she was first selected, with suggestions that other nations snub the team over claims that her strength advantage is unfair.
The sport of shore angling requires competitors to battle against strong winds and currents.
The trans angler, who one former team-mate described as having ‘hands like shovels’, was the only member of the team to catch any fish during a competition in rough weather earlier this year that was held by governing body the Angling Trust to select the final England team.
Now the team’s captain, who was among those who quit, has told The Mail on Sunday she informed Angling Trust bosses she would rather have a ‘rubbish woman’ on the team.
Read more: Half of England ladies’ angling team quit after trans woman ‘with hands like shovels’ and who used to be a rugby player is selected to join their squad for physically demanding fishing championship