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Historic: NZ’s Laurel Hubbard selected as first transgender athlete at Olympics

Forty-three-year-old Laurel Hubbard from New Zealand will become the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympic Games, Sky Sports has reported.

Hubbard, who transitioned in 2012, is among the five members of the weight-lifting team confirmed on Monday for  Tokyo 2021.

She lifted 185kg in two lifts on the way to qualifying in the women’s super-heavyweight division and will be the oldest weightlifter at the event.

Hubbard, who competed in men’s events before her transition, will be ranked fourth in the competition in the 87kg-and-over category, which will commence on August 2.

The weightlifter won silver at the 2017 World Championships and gold in the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa, having sustained a broken arm at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia – setting her career back.

Reacting to news of her selection for Tokyo, she said: “I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many  New Zealanders.”

Hubbard set national records on the junior circuit, but did not compete at international level before transitioning.

Her selection has generated some debate and controversy, but she has met all of the requirements set by the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) regulations for trans athletes and fair competition.

Under the policy, trans athletes are eligible to compete in the female category by declaring their gender identity as female and demonstrating a total testosterone level below a specific measurement for at least twelve months prior to their first competition.

The IOC policy also states: “The overriding sporting objective is and remains the guarantee of fair competition.”

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