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Over 21,000 People Sign Petition To Change Rule That Allowed Trans Weightlifter On Olympic Team

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Over 21,000 People Sign Petition To Change Rule That Allowed Trans Weightlifter On Olympic Team

Over 21,000 people have signed a petition protesting against the rule which allowed transgender athlete Laurel Hubbard to qualify for the Olympics.

New Zealand native Hubbard will become the first transgender athlete in Olympic history after being selected for this summer's event in Tokyo.

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) changed their rules in 2015 to allow transgender women to compete if their testosterone levels are below a specific threshold.

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A group named Defend Women's Sport have taken issue with this and created a petition to 'Suspend the International Olympic Committee's transgender policy'.

The petition has 21,558 signatures at the time of writing and it claims Hubbard's inclusion is 'unfair to women due to the incontrovertible physical advantage that transwomen have.'

It argues the testosterone level rule 'completely ignores the physical advantages in speed, height, stamina and strength that a male-born athlete will have', and the policy should be 'suspended immediately' as 'women and girls are being sacrificed by the IOC as an easy fix for transgender demands for inclusion.'

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Image Credit: Change.org
Image Credit: Change.org

Fellow weightlifter Anna Vanbellinghen has slammed Hubbard's involvement, claiming the inclusion of transgender athletes should not come 'at the expense of others.'

Vanbellinghen told insidethegames: "First off, I would like to stress that I fully support the transgender community, and that what I'm about to say doesn't come from a place of rejection of this athlete's identity [...]

"However, anyone that has trained weightlifting at a high level knows this to be true in their bones: this particular situation is unfair to the sport and to the athletes.

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"I understand that for sports authorities nothing is as simple as following your common sense and that there are a lot of impracticalities when studying such a rare phenomenon, but for athletes, the whole thing feels like a bad joke."

Vanbellinghen competes in the same +87kg division as Hubbard, who took part in men's weightlifting competitions before transitioning in 2013.

Many of her rivals have argued she would have an 'unfair' advantage.

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Fellow New Zealander Tracey Lambrechs has also been critical of Hubbard being allowed to compete.

She told TVNZ per Daily Mail: "I'm quite disappointed, quite disappointed for the female athlete who will lose out on that spot.

"We're all about equality for women in sport but right now that equality is being taken away from us.

"I've had female weightlifters come up to me and say, 'what do we do? This isn't fair, what do we do?'. Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do because every time we voice it we get told to be quiet."

Featured Image Credit: PA Images

Topics: Laurel Hubbard, Athletics

Daniel Marland
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