August 14, 2022

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New Zealand brings trans weightlifter to Tokyo

New Zealand brings trans weightlifter to Tokyo

Laurel Hubbard lifted 628 pounds (285 kilograms) in two attempts to qualify for the super heavyweight division for the Tokyo Olympics.

It is overweight, but has nothing to do with the metaphorical burden that Hubbard carries with the pride of being the first trans athlete to compete in the Olympics.

Hubbard was one of five confirmed weightlifters on the New Zealand squad for Tokyo. At 43, she will be the oldest weightlifter and was ranked fourth in the women’s 87kg (192 lb) race on August 2.

Hubbard won gold at the 2017 World Cup on Friday and at the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa. In 2018 he competed in the Commonwealth Games, but suffered a serious injury that slowed his life.

“I am grateful and honored for the kindness and support I have received from so many New Zealanders,” Hubbard said in a statement. “When I broke my arm at the Commonwealth Games three years ago, they told me that my sporting career was probably over. But their support, their encouragement and their love (love) kept me in the dark.”

The extra burden on Hubbard is that his efforts have put him at the center of the debate over whether it is fair for trans athletes to compete in the women’s division. He was the target of anger and ridicule, and received criticism from some rivals.

Hubbard became eight years ago, at the age of 35. He has since met all the requirements of the International Olympic Committee for Transformers and Fair Competition.

Anna Van Bellingen of Belgium, who will be competing against Hubbard, said her presence would be “a bad joke” for rivals.

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“I know it is very difficult to define the legal framework for trance participation in sports, because there are infinitely different scenarios and it is not possible to reach a completely satisfactory solution to all sides of the debate,” Van Bellingen said. “However, anyone who has trained in high-altitude weightlifting knows this to be true: in this particular situation, it is unreasonable for sports and female athletes.”

“Of course, this debate takes place in the broader context of discrimination against transgender people, which is why this issue is not free from ideology,” he added.

Other athletes and members of the Weightlifting Federation said Hubbard has a natural benefit in physiology and strength.

Hubbard does not usually provide interviews. In 2017, Stuff told the New Zealand website that his strategy of facing criticism was to “focus on the task”.

“I know I don’t have everyone’s support, but I hope people can see my work in a broader context with an open mind,” he said.

“Maybe the fact that it took so long for someone like me to come in indicates that the issues that people suggest are not what they appear to be,” he added.