New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard was selected as the first transgender Olympic athlete Monday after Kiwi officials made a groundbreaking call on “a highly sensitive and complex issue”.
New Zealand Olympic Committee chief Kereyn Smith said Hubbard, 43 — who was born male but transitioned to female in her 30s — met all the qualification criteria for transgender athletes.
“We acknowledge that gender identity in sport is a highly sensitive and complex issue requiring a balance between human rights and fairness on the field of play,” Smith said in a statement.
“As the New Zealand team, we have a strong culture of manaaki (caring) and inclusion and respect for all.”
Hubbard, who also competed as a male, became eligible to lift as a woman after showing testosterone levels below the threshold required by the International Olympic Committee.
She will contest the women’s +87kg category in Tokyo, an event in which she is currently ranked 16th in the world.
Former New Zealand weightlifter Tracey Lambrechs, who was forced to drop a division to make the 2018 Commonwealth Games because Hubbard was selected in her preferred event, said the selection was unfair.
Lambrechs, now retired, said the concerns of female-born weightlifters had been ignored by officials. —APP