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Laurel Hubbard First Transgender Athlete to Qualify for Olympics

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Ground Report | New Delhi: Laurel Hubbard First Transgender: Laurel Hubbard created history and became the first transgender athlete to be a part of Olympic. After qualifying through international rankings at the end of May; weightlifter Laurel Hubbard was nominated to New Zealand’s Olympic team on June 21.

According to Olympic historians, no openly transgender athlete has ever competed in the Olympics. Hubbard, 43, began transitioning in her mid-thirties and has been competing at the highest level internationally since 2017. The International Weightlifting Federation has her placed No. 7 for Tokyo 2020, and she has qualified for the women’s over-87 kg category.

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 What made Laurel Hubbard eligible to Tokyo Olympic?

 Hubbard, who participated in men’s weightlifting before converting to women’s weightlifting in 2013, became eligible to compete in the Olympics after the International Olympic Committee amended its rules in 2015. Athletes who transition from male to female are qualified for the Olympics if their total testosterone level in serum has been below ten nanomoles per liter for at least 12 months, according to the International Weightlifting Federation’s transgender criteria.

What is Hubbard’s previous record?

Laurel Hubbard is preparing to compete in the Olympics for the first time as a transgender athlete and holds several records on her name. She became the first Trans woman to win an international weightlifting title for New Zealand when she won gold at the 2017 Australian International & Australian Open in Melbourne.

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According to Olympedia.org, Hubbard would also set a new record for the oldest female Olympic weightlifter by more than four years. She also set records by winning the IWF World Weightlifting Champions twice in 2017.Even before altering her gender identity; she has established national records in junior competition while competing in men’s weightlifting events as Gavin Hubbard.

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How did people react over this decision of IOC?

Although Hubbard met the IWF’s eligibility criteria for transgender to be a part of Olympic and created a way forward for many transgender who aspire to be an athlete. Critics argue that she has several physical advantages as a result of her male upbringing, making her presence in the competition unfair to female-born athletes.

One of her competitors, Belgian weightlifter Anna Vanbellinghen, claimed that Hubbard has an unfair advantage due to physical characteristics implanted on her body during her formative years as a male.

Prior to this, Hubbard was denied entry to the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast in 2018, despite a request from Australia’s weightlifting federation. Due to an injury, the Kiwi had to withdraw from the competition. Moreover, she won a gold medal at the Pacific Games in 2019 over local favorite Feagaiga Stowers, causing host nation Samoa to complain. Accepting her is now like allowing doping, according to the country’s weightlifting chief.

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However Hubbard’s backers, including the New Zealand Olympic Committee and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, claim she has met the International Olympic Committee’s standards for competing as a woman, gaining her right to respect and inclusion.

On the other hand, Hubbard, who is very reserved and avoids the media, expressed gratitude to the community for its support in her recovery. Hubbard said in a statement to The Guardian, “I am grateful and humbled by the compassion and support that has been shown to me by so many New Zealanders.”

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