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Laurel Hubbard Breaks Silence Ahead Of Becoming First Transgender Athlete To Compete At Olympics

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Laurel Hubbard Breaks Silence Ahead Of Becoming First Transgender Athlete To Compete At Olympics

Transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has praised the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for "making sport inclusive and accessible" ahead of her controversial debut at Tokyo 2020.

The 43-year-old New Zealander will become the first trans athlete to compete at the Olympics in the women's 87kg weightlifting at the Tokyo International Forum.

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Hubbard transitioned from male to female in 2012 and came out as trans in 2013.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The New Zealand weightlifter's opportunity to compete at Tokyo 2020 has been blasted amid claims that she would have an unfair advantage over the other women.

Hubbard, who underwent male puberty before transitioning, has thanked the IOC ahead of challenging for an Olympic medal in the women's super-heavyweight category.

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"The Olympic Games are a global celebration of our hopes, our ideals and our values," she said.

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

Hubbard was eligible for selection by New Zealand after she met the testosterone level requirements that were supported by the IOC in its rule changes in 2015.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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IOC medical and science director Dr Richard Budgett has since praised Hubbard for her "courage and tenacity in actually competing and qualifying for the Games."

Weightlifter Anna Vanbellinghen, who is representing Belgium at the 2020 Summer Olympics, ruthlessly slammed Hubbard's eligibility to compete 'at the expense of others.'

Emily Muskett, who is a teammate of Team GB weightlifter Emily Campbell, has insisted that Hubbard is "allowed to compete" due to the rules.

The 31-year-old British weightlifter 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.

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

Featured Image Credit: 1 NEWS/PA

Topics: New Zealand, 2020 Summer Olympics, Weightlifting, Laurel Hubbard

Adnan Riaz
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