On Monday, The New Zealand Olympic Committee declared that Laurel Hubbard would be competing for her country in the women’s super-heavyweight 87-kg category at the upcoming games on July 23rd. Before this, the 43-year-old competes as a man until she transitioned in 2013. This selection, however, means Hubbard will become the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics.
Laurel Hubbard will be the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
While it certainly has fueled a hot debate over inclusion and fairness in sport, Hubbard has claimed she’s humbled, adding that it had been a long journey to reach this point. “I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders,” Hubbard, according to DailyMail, said.
Hubbard will compete for her country in the women’s super heavyweight category.
The 43-year-old competes as a man until she transitioned in 2013.
International athletes and health experts have been left divided over Hubbard competing in the women’s category. Some claim she will have an unfair advantage, while a few say the situation is like a bad joke, making a mockery of the sport. During the 2018 Commonwealth Games, it will be recalled that Hubbard had faced pressure in the sport after sustaining a severe elbow injury.
Some international athletes, including Sharron Davies, have claimed Hubbard will have an unfair advantage.
Olympic Swimmer Sharron (pictured here) hits at a decision, claiming Hubbard is 43.30% unfair advantage.
She had reportedly admitted it would have ended her career if it wasn’t for the ongoing support of her fans. “The last eighteen months have shown us all that there’s strength in kinship, in community, and in working together towards a common purpose. The mana of the silver fern comes from all of you, and I will wear it with pride.” Hubbard had said at that time.
Anna Vanbellinghen, who will likely compete against Hubbard, has said the situation is a bad joke.
Despite her eligibility, Hubbard is heavily faced with criticism.
Nonetheless, Hubbard became eligible to compete in the Olympics when new guidelines were set by the International Olympic Committee in 2015. The policy specified conditions under which those who transition from male to female are eligible to compete in the female category. The committee also declared that any Trans athlete could compete as a woman provided their testosterone levels were below ten nanomoles per liter for at least 12 months before their first competition.