Kiwi powerlifter Laurel Hubbard had entered into male competitions in the past, but at the Tokyo games Hubbard will become the first ever transgender competitor.
Under IOC guidelines issued in November 2015, athletes who transition from male to female can compete in the women’s category without requiring surgery to remove their testes provided their total testosterone level in serum is kept below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months – a rule followed by the IWF.”
New Zealand Olympic Committee chief executive Kereyn Smith said it’s clear Hubbard has met all the criteria to compete in Tokyo.
Smith says, “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.As the New Zealand Team, we have a strong culture of manaaki (hospitality) and inclusion and respect for all."
Last month, Belgian powerlifter Anna Van Bellinghen, who will likely compete against Hubbard, blasted the International Olympic Committee for its decision to allow the transgender female to compete in the games.
Van Bellinghen says the IOC decision to allow Hubbard to compete with the females is “unfair to the sport and to the athletes.”
She adds that “anyone that has trained weightlifting at a high level knows this to be true in their bones.”
Van Bellinghen points out that Hubbard enjoys the same advantage over the other female competitors as someone on a long-term course of steroids, “why is it still a question whether two decades, from puberty to the age of 35, with the hormonal system of a man also would give an advantage [against women]?”
Hubbard is considered to be a medal contender in Tokyo, having won a silver medal in the over-90 kilogram competition at the 2017 World Championships and gold in the over-87 kilogram competition at the 2019 Pacific Games.
Joe Rogan breaks down the absurdity of this all. (WARNING: don't click on the video if cussing offends you).