New Zealand transgender athlete selected in weightlifting team for Tokyo

by Reuters
Sunday, 20 June 2021 23:19 GMT

Weightlifting - Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games - Women's +90kg - Final - Carrara Sports Arena 1 - Gold Coast, Australia - April 9, 2018. Laurel Hubbard of New Zealand competes. REUTERS/Paul Childs

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WELLINGTON, June 21 (Reuters) - New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard was selected to be part of the country's team for the Tokyo Olympic Games, becoming the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the event after qualifying requirements were modified.

Hubbard will compete in the women's 87-kg category, the New Zealand Olympic Committee said in a statement.

"I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders," Hubbard said in the statement.

The 43-year-old had competed in men's weightlifting competitions before transitioning in 2013.

She has been eligible to compete in the Olympics since 2015, when the International Olympic Committee issued guidelines allowing any transgender athlete to compete as a woman provided their testosterone levels are below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months before their first competition.

But her eligibility has been questioned by ex-athletes and other critics of the International Olympic Committee's guidance on inclusion for transgender athletes, which they believe ignores the performance advantage gained by going through male puberty.

The New Zealand government, however, had backed her inclusion.

(Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Peter Cooney and Lincoln Feast.)

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