nancy navalta

Last Updated on April 15, 2023 by Andrew Pirie

Nancy Navalta

Nancy Navalta Gender Issues / Biography

Clocking a time of 11.44 seconds for the 100-meter dash; Given how undeveloped Nancy was, is an even more amazing feat. Nancy lacked training, too; in contrast, she just jogged over sandy beaches while carrying a bag of boulders.

Newspapers, however, praised this girl who transformed from a Luna stone picker to a renowned athlete and was the daughter of a fisherman. Most importantly, her early victories qualified her for the national training program. However, some commentators then started discussing the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Nancy was never able to visit Atlanta. Though it was questioned whether Navalta was a man because of the notion that a female newbie could run so quickly and physical characteristics like her “flat chest,” “muscled build,” and a “wispy moustache.”

“Nobody noticed me when I was losing,” Nancy later said in a 2004 interview.* “But when I started winning, they began questioning my gender.”

Nancy Navalta Medical Condition

Then forced to undergo medical tests. Then came the Philippine Sports Commission ruling that Nancy is “genetically male.”

Jennifer Finny Boylan’s column makes relevant points regarding the inherent flaws of gender testing at sports competitions. “They measure maleness and femaleness by the wrong yardsticks, and in the process, they ruin the lives of the innocent.”

I imagine that Nancy, who now works as a college track coach, agrees.

“No one even bothered to find out how I felt about the situation,” she said. “The nation feasted on me in a mad scramble for the juicy parts.”

And scramble for “juicy parts” they did. While the newspapers that praised her humble origins and hard work turned malicious. Articles talked about her “undeveloped penis” and the absence of a uterus and ovaries. The best hope for Philippine women’s sports, they wrote, was a man.

“I am a woman,” Nancy countered. “It’s cruel to say that I’m not.”

Nancy Navalta Pictures

nancy navalta
Nancy Navalta (New Strait times, 1995).
nancy navalta
Navalta Pictures today

Tagalog/Eng/Nat from APA Archive Gender

Due to her refusal to acknowledge her gender, a Filipino athlete has been disqualified from this week’s national finals in the Philippines.

Although Nancy Navalta has been competing in women’s competitions since her days in high school, the authorities want identification.

Nancy is currently forced to watch from the sidelines since she has refused to divulge the specifics of a sex test she has taken.

A man or a woman?

The Philippines’ athletics are engulfed in a dispute that centers on the 18-year-old runner Nancy Navalta. 

No one questions her talent; she has won numerous competitions; nonetheless, they are suspicious of her sexual orientation.

Even though she has always competed as a woman, the athletics authorities want identification.

She has also been prohibited from competing until she discloses the results of a gender test she was made to take last year.

Her sole current connection to athletics is as the head coach of a Dagupan squad. She wishes she was out on the road. 


SOUNDBITE: (Tagalog)

“I miss it (running) very much.”

SUPER CAPTION: Nancy Navalta, Athlete

Navalta started running in her hometown school in Luna La Union, about 280 kilometres north of Manila, when she was in 6th grade.

The many medals and plaques hanging on the Navalta home wall prove her outstanding performance as a runner.

It was that very success that caused questions to be asked about her gender.


SOUNDBITE: (Tagalog)

“Of course, I was hurt because during the previous years that I was playing and lost, there were no questions, but when I started winning, that’s when all the questions came out. That’s what is making me wonder.”


SUPER CAPTION: Nancy Navalta, Athlete

Officials of the Philippine Sports Commission said that she is welcome to compete again, but this time on the men’s team.

That is unless she can prove she is a woman.


SOUNDBITE: (English)

“I don’t see there’s a way for her to join the women’s team anymore because, as I said, if she cannot present the gender test, she will not (be) allowed to run in any competition, local competition, or foreign competition.”


SUPER CAPTION: Goh Teng Kok, President Philippine Track and Field Association

She was born and raised in this house, and she says that photos of her as a child prove she was reared as a girl.

Only Nancy and her family know the outcome of the sex test, and they are refusing to release the results.

They say it is too personal.

Her family and friends stood by her when the controversy broke last year, and her father says they are not bothered by all the talk.


SOUNDBITE: (Ilocano dialect)

“It does not affect us, as far as we’re concerned, she is a girl.



Eugenio Navalta, Nancy’s father

Until Nancy can provide the test results to prove that she is female, she will have to be content with her role on the sidelines as team coach.

But she has not lost hope and says she will compete again in the women’s team one day.


SOUNDBITE: (Tagalog)

“I still feel I am a girl because I was born a girl, raised as a girl, educated as a girl, and registered as a girl.”


SUPER CAPTION: Nancy Navalta, Athlete

Her friends were hoping that Nancy could join them on Wednesday’s opening of the Championships, but the ban stays until she reveals the test results.


AP. (n.d.). AP.

Filipino sprinter runs as man and woman. (n.d.). Filipino Sprinter Runs as Man and Woman.

Gender Bender in Philippine Track. (1996, March 7). AP NEWS.







By Andrew Pirie

Andrew was elected Vice President of the Association of Track and Field Statisticians in 2020 after being a member for 7 years. He has worked as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant from 2013-2015, Consultant, and Sprint Coach at Zamboanga Sports Academy from 2015-2017. And Currently is Consultant Coach with VMUF 2021- Current editor and chief of, and has recently done consultancy work for Ayala Corp evaluating the Track and Field Program. Coaches Sprints, Middle and Jump events he is  Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification in Sprints and Hurdles. Currently working towards a Masters Degree in Education. He can be contacted on [email protected] You can find more information on Coaching here

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