Sport Transgender weightlifter praises Tokyo organisers for allowing her to compete in the Olympics

03:57  01 august  2021
03:57  01 august  2021 Source:   news.sky.com

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The International Olympic Committee has heaped praise on New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard for "courage and tenacity" as the transgender weightlifter prepares to compete at the Tokyo Games. "Everyone agrees transgender women are women. But it’s a matter of eligibility for sport, and particular events, and it really has to be very sport-specific. Budgett explained why 2015 guidelines, which state trans women can compete in women's categories without the need for gender reassignment surgery if they keep their total testosterone level in serum below 10 nanomoles per liter, have not been updated.

The decision to allow transgender athlete Laurel Hubbard to compete in women’s weightlifting at the Tokyo Olympics is unlikely to affect the medal hopes of the world’s top-ranked athletes. But it does leave one question unanswered – what the hell is going on in sport? The 43-year-old will be the oldest weightlifter at Tokyo and first He has a point. After all, in the groundbreaking Paralympics, there are classes for eight different physical impairments plus vision impairment and intellectual impairment, as organisers do their best to level the playing field for competing athletes of widely varying abilities.

New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has praised Olympics organisers for allowing her to compete in the Games ahead of her controversial debut in the 87kg category.

a close up of a person holding a baseball bat: 'I commend the IOC for its commitment to making sport inclusive and accessible,' Hubbard said. Pics AP © Associated Press 'I commend the IOC for its commitment to making sport inclusive and accessible,' Hubbard said. Pics AP

Hubbard is the first openly transgender athlete to compete in an individual sport in the 125-year history of the Games and said: "The Olympic Games are a global celebration of our hopes, our ideals and our values.

"I commend the IOC for its commitment to making sport inclusive and accessible."

She transitioned in 2012 and has been the focus of both support and criticism in the build up to her first Olympics.

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" She is our first Olympian who has transitioned from male to female," she told reporters. "We do know that there are many questions about fairness of transgender athletes competing in the Olympic Games but I would like to take this opportunity to remind us all that Laurel has met all of the required Samoa’s weightlifting boss said Hubbard’s selection for Tokyo would be like letting athletes dope and feared it could cost the small Pacific nation a medal. Belgian weightlifter Anna Vanbellinghen said last month allowing Hubbard to compete at Tokyo was unfair for women and “like a bad joke”.

She will compete in the women's 87-kg weightlifting category. The 43-year-old became eligible to compete at the Olympics when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2015 changed its rules allowing transgender athletes to compete as a woman if their testosterone levels are below a Last month, Belgian weightlifter Anna Vanbellinghen, who is competing in the same category, said that if Hubbard were to compete in Tokyo it would be unfair for women and "like a bad joke". She said that while she fully supported the transgender community, the principle of inclusion should not be "at the

Hubbard met the qualifying criteria on levels of testosterone set by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which revised its rules for trans athletes in 2016.

One of the IOC advisers was Joanna Harper from Loughborough University, who told Sky News: "Yes, Laurel has advantages - but within this group of 14 women that she is competing against, Laurel is probably somewhere in the middle of the pack.

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"She could theoretically finish anywhere from third to 14th - and isn't that sort of the definition of fair competition that a lot of things could potentially happen?"

Critics have argued that her inclusion is unfair on other competitors and that Hubbard is naturally stronger - the New Zealander is ranked 15th in the world.

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The 43-year-old competitive weightlifter was selected to represent New Zealand at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics - making her the first transgender athlete to compete at sport's highest level. But when Daily Mail Australia revealed she captained her high school team to glory at Auckland's exclusive Saint Her selection has been met with praise by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who said Hubbard met eligibility standards set by the sport, the International Olympic Committee, and the New Zealand Olympic Committee. But there is still plenty of outrage in the sporting community, with

The Olympic organisers have managed to tie themselves up in knots after American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson tested positive for traces of cannabis and was banned from competing , while at the same time they let New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard compete as a woman despite testing In weightlifting , the event in which Laurel Hubbard competes and is ranked 17th in the world, the advantage can be up to 30 percent. Cannabis affords no such edge. Former British Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies, who has bravely ventured into the debate over the athlete formerly known as Gavin

Earlier at the Games, IOC President Thomas Bach said he wanted to review the rules further and "finally to come up with some guidelines which cannot be rules, because this is a question where there is no one-size-fits-all solution".

He said: "It differs from sport to sport."

Team GB weightlifter Emily Campbell will compete against Hubbard on Monday, and her teammate Emily Muskett told Sky News: "It's a controversial topic - but at the end of the day the rules have been set by the IOC and the IWF (International Weightlifting Federation) so she is allowed to compete.

"Obviously we will put all of our support behind Emily and it will be a great competition to watch."

Canadian footballer, Quinn - who is transgender and non-binary - also made their debut at the Tokyo Olympics. They posted on their Instagram account recently: "I feel optimistic for change. Change in legislature. Changes in rules, structures, and mindsets."

Laurel Hubbard competing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games © Reuters Laurel Hubbard competing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games

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