Mexico City (Abro). Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, 43, has become the first transgender New Zealand athlete selected by the New Zealand Olympic Committee to compete in the Tokyo Olympics, international media reported.
The decision was made in 2015 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that allows you to compete if your testosterone levels are below a certain threshold.
Officials chose her in the women’s 87-kilogram weightlifting competition, which sparked controversy as her critics considered her to have an advantage over other competitors, compared to others who celebrated her inclusion in the Olympic Games, according to BBC Mundo.
“I am grateful and honored for the kindness and support many New Zealanders have shown me,” she said in a statement released by the New Zealand Olympic Committee on Monday, June 21.
New Zealand Olympic Committee President Keren Smith commented that Hubbard, who was born a man and became a woman, meets all the conditions for the participation of transgender athletes.
“We recognize that transgender identity in sport is a very sensitive and complex issue that requires a balance between human rights and fairness on the ground,” he said.
“As a New Zealand team, we have a strong Manaki culture, inclusion and respect for all,” he added.
Hubbard participated in the men’s events before coming out as transgender in 2013. She won the silver medal at the 2017 World Championships and finished sixth in 2019 after recovering from an elbow injury at the Commonwealth Games in 2018.
“Laurel has shown courage and perseverance in her comeback from a major injury and has overcome challenges to regain confidence on the competition podium. She is a skilled student at the sport and is technically good at lifts. We look forward to helping her in her final preparations for Tokyo,” New Zealand Weightlifting President Richie Patterson said.
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