Laurel Hubbard, 43, will participate in the women’s super heavyweight competition in Tokyo.
Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard (Laurel Hubbard) will become the first transgender athlete to participate in the Olympic Games after being selected by New Zealand to participate in the women’s event at the Tokyo Olympics. This decision is intended to test the ideals of fair competition in sports.
New Zealand Olympic Committee chairman Kereyn Smith stated that Hubbard, 43,-who was assigned as a male at birth but converted to a female in 2013-meets all the eligibility criteria for transgender athletes.
“We recognize that gender identity in sports is a highly sensitive and complex issue that requires a balance between human rights and fairness in the game field,” Smith said in a statement.
After showing that the testosterone level is below the threshold required by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Hubbard will participate in the 87 kg super heavyweight competition.
The 43-year-old athlete participated in the men’s weightlifting competition before changing careers.
“I feel grateful and humble for the kindness and support that so many New Zealanders have given me,” Hubbard said in a statement issued by the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) on Monday.
Hubbard has been eligible to participate in the Olympics since 2015, when the International Olympic Committee issued guidelines to allow any transgender athlete to participate in the competition as a female, provided that their testosterone level is at least 12 before the first competition. Less than 10 nanomoles per liter per month.
Some scientists say that the guidelines have little effect on reducing the biological advantages of men who go through puberty, including bone and muscle density.
Advocates of transgender inclusion believe that the transition process will greatly reduce this advantage, and the physical differences between athletes mean that there will never be a truly level playing field.
Save Women’s Sport Australasia, a female athlete advocacy organization, criticized Hubbard’s choice.
The organization said in a statement: “The International Olympic Committee allows the selection of a 43-year-old biological man who claims to be female to participate in the female category. This is a flawed policy.”
Weightlifting has always been at the center of the fairness debate about the competition between transgender athletes and women, and Hubbard’s presence in Tokyo may cause disagreements.
She won the gold medal at the 2019 Samoa Pacific Games, and was on the podium before Samoa Commonwealth Games champion Fejaga Storrs, sparking anger from the host country.
Samoa’s weightlifting boss said Hubbard’s choice of Tokyo was like “exciting” athletes, and worried that it would cost the small Pacific nation a medal.
Belgian weightlifter Anna Van Beringen said last month that allowing Hubbard to participate in the Tokyo competition is unfair to women and “like a bad joke.”
The Australian Weightlifting Federation tried to prevent Hubbard from participating in the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, but the organizers rejected the move.
Hubbard was forced to quit after being injured in the game and thought her career was over.
“When I broke my arm at the Commonwealth Games three years ago, someone told me that my sports career may have come to an end,” Hubbard said on Monday when thanking the New Zealander.
“But your support, encouragement and Aloha (love) took me through the darkness.”
New Zealand Olympic weightlifting chairman Rich Patterson said Hubbard has worked hard to recover from injuries that may end his career.
“Laurel recovered from a serious injury and overcame the challenge of rebuilding confidence on the game platform, showing courage and perseverance,” he said.
Hubbard is currently ranked 16th in the world in the super heavyweight competition.