Wellington | New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard will become the first transgender athlete to compete in the Olympics after her country’s team was confirmed by sports authorities on Monday.
New Zealand Olympic Committee president Keren Smith said Hubbard, 43, who was born a man but turned into a woman in his 30s, met all the requirements for transgender athletes to participate.
“We recognize that transgender identity in sport is a highly sensitive and complex subject, which requires a balance between human rights and equity on the ground,” she said in a statement.
Hubbard, who also competed as a male, was recognized as an athlete after showing testosterone levels below those allowed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). However, her critics believe that she has the physical advantage of being born male, to the detriment of female athletes.
She will compete in the over 87kg weight class in Tokyo, where she is currently ranked 16th in the world.
She has long been kept out of competitions after an elbow injury at the Commonwealth Games in 2018.
“Hipster-friendly tv trailblazer. Problem solver. Infuriatingly humble introvert. Reader. Student. Subtly charming bacon maven.”