New Zealand weightlifter to become first trans athlete to compete in Olympics


A New Zealand woman has become the first transgender athlete to be selected to compete in the Olympics – a decision that is expected to spark a debate about gender identity at the Games.

New Zealand Olympic Committee chief Karen Smith said in a statement on Monday that 43-year-old weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, who was born male but converted to female, has been selected to compete at the upcoming Summer Games in Tokyo. was.

“We recognize that gender identity in sport is a highly sensitive and complex issue that requires a balance between human rights and fairness on the playground,” Smith said in a statement.

“As a New Zealand team, we have a strong culture of inclusivity and respect for manaki[care]and for all.”

Hubbard transitioned into his 30s and had previously competed as a male lifter. She became eligible to compete in the Olympics as a woman after her testosterone levels fell below a certain required threshold.

“I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support extended to me by so many of New Zealanders… your support, your encouragement and your mount (love) lifted me out of the darkness,” Hubbard said in a statement.

Laurel Hubbard of New Zealand has been introduced at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Laurel Hubbard of New Zealand has been introduced at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
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Hubbard’s critics have argued that she has an unfair advantage in competition against other women.

Former teammate Tracy Lambrecht said in an interview last month that many fellow female lifters have concerns that are being ignored.

She told broadcaster TVNZ, “I’ve had female lifters come up to me and say ‘It’s not fair, what can we do?

“Unfortunately we can’t do anything because every time we raise our voice [concerns] We are told to keep quiet.”

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