Hubbard, first-ever transgender athlete to compete at Olympics...

Dhaka, Wednesday   04 August 2021

Hubbard, first-ever transgender athlete to compete at Olympics

 Sports Desk

 Published: 12:39 PM, 21 June 2021   Updated: 12:40 PM, 21 June 2021

Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

New Zealand's weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has become the first-ever transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics, in a controversial decision. 

Officials have selected her for the women's weightlifting team for Tokyo 2020, after qualifying requirements were recently modified.

She had competed in men's events before coming out as transgender in 2013. 

Critics say Hubbard has an unfair advantage, but others have argued for more inclusion at the Games.

"I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders," Hubbard said in a statement issued by the New Zealand Olympic Committee on Monday.

She will compete in the women's 87-kg weightlifting category.

The 43-year-old became eligible to compete at the Olympics when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2015 changed its rules allowing transgender athletes to compete as a woman if their testosterone levels are below a certain threshold. 

While the athlete's testosterone - a hormone that increases muscle mass - levels are below that threshold, critics say her participation in the Olympics is still unfair for female-born athletes.

They have pointed to the biological advantages of those who have gone through puberty as males, such as increased bone and muscle density.