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New Zealand Weightlifter To Become The First Transgender Athlete To Compete At The Olympics

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New Zealand Weightlifter To Become The First Transgender Athlete To Compete At The Olympics

Laurel Hubbard is set to make history at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The weightlifter from New Zealander will officially become the first transgender athlete in history to compete in an Olympics.

New rule changes from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have granted Hubbard the ability to qualify for the women's super heavyweight (87kg-plus) category for weightlifting.

43-year-old Hubbard previously competed in men's competitions before transitioning back in 2013.

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Laurel Hubbard. Credit: Inside The Games
Laurel Hubbard. Credit: Inside The Games

In 2015 the IOC made amendments to their qualifying guidelines which ultimately allowed for trans athletes to compete in women's events depending on their testosterone levels.

As long as the athlete's levels of testosterone were 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months prior to competition, then they were eligible to compete.

For the Olympic Games, Hubbard's inclusion will serve as a landmark moment.

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But for Hubbard herself, she'll be purely focused on coming away from Tokyo with a medal wrapped round her neck.

She is currently ranked fourth overall out of the 14 other qualifiers in the super heavyweight class, meaning she has a genuine shot of clinching gold.

The topic of transgender athletes has sparked huge debate in recent years with some sports fans demanding inclusion while others see their involvement as unfair.

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Caitlyn Jenner, who won gold at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, recently came out and said that trans girls shouldn't be allowed to compete in female sports in schools.

She copped copped fierce backlash for these views, but has since doubled down on her stance.

Hubbard's appearance at the Tokyo Games is expected to attract widespread media attention, but it certainly won't be the first time she has found herself in the firing line.

In 2018, Australia's weightlifting federation desperately tried to block her from competing at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast.

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And a year later Hubbard was in the spotlight once again after winning gold at the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa - a victory that didn't sit well with the local spectators.

But with all that being said, one group that has continued to show their support for Hubbard is Olympic Weightlifting New Zealand.

The Kiwi governing body has not only helped her overcome obstacles in her push for Olympic selection, but they also supported her through a devastating arm injury in 2018 that threatened to derail her dream of competing in Tokyo.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: New Zealand, Weightlifting, olympics, olympic games, Tokyo Olympics, powerlifting, Australia, transgender

Max Sherry
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