The New Zealand Olympic Committee today announced that Hubbard has been selected for that country’s women’s team. She and four others are going to the Tokyo Olympics.
New qualification rules
New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard was born as a boy but had gender reassignment surgery when she was in her 30s. As a woman, she can compete in the Games, in part thanks to the new qualification rules of the International Weightlifting Association.
New Zealand Olympic Committee chief Kereyn Smith says Hubbard’s testosterone levels are below the maximum allowed level.
“We recognize that gender identity in sport is very sensitive and complex,” she says RNZ. “This issue requires the right balance between human rights and fairness on the playing field. In the New Zealand team, the emphasis is on respect for everyone.”
“Confidence for the future”
Karin Blankenstein, co-founder of an organization committed to discussing the acceptance of LGBT people in sport, previously told RTL Nieuws that Hubbard’s qualification is important.
“Society is slowly accepting it more and more, and all these little examples also give back strength. Especially young athletes who are facing this can benefit from it. It gives confidence for the future.”
Hubbard broke his arm at the 2018 Commenwealth Games. “I was told then that my athletic career was probably over,” the transgender athlete now says about it. “But your support and encouragement brought me through the darkness.”
Worked extremely hard
Her coach says the weightlifter has worked extremely hard to qualify. “Laurel showed good spirits and perseverance on her return from a serious injury. She has regained her confidence and we are preparing for the Olympics.”