Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has made history as the first transgender athlete to compete at an Olympic Games.
The 43-year-old New Zealander has become the first trans competitor to compete in the Tokyo Olympics.
Laurel Hubbard, who is 16th in the world rankings, will be the oldest athlete in the women’s weightlifting category.
It has been officially announced the athlete has made the cut for the New Zealand team. The Guardian reports the IWF (International Weightlifting Federation) adjusted guidelines which would mean Hubbard now qualifies.
The newly amended regulations have also be approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The Guardian has also reported Olympic teams do not have to be named for another two months, until July.
“The NZOC can confirm that revised International Federation (IF) qualification systems are very likely to see a number of New Zealand weightlifters, including Commonwealth Games transgender athlete Laurel Hubbard, allocated an IF quota spot for Tokyo 2020,” the NZOC said in a statement Sky News has reported.
“A previous requirement to attend six competition events has been reduced to four due to the impact of COVID-19.”
The 43-year-old previously competed in men’s weightlifting before transitioning to a woman in 2013. Hubbard has since won silver at the 2017 super-heavyweight world championships.
Criticism is sure to follow Hubbard’s success, however, the sportsperson has been able to compete since 2015.
IOC issued new guidelines in November 2015 which states athletes who have transitioned from male to female are eligible to compete, without the need for surgery, if their testosterone levels are low enough.
In this case, testosterone levels must be kept below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months; a rule also followed by the International Weightlifting Federation.
Five years after she transitioned, in 2017, Hubbard opened up about competing at an elite professional level.
‘The rules that enabled me to compete first went into effect in 2003,” she explained. ‘They are known as the Stockholm consensus with the IOC but I think even 10 years ago the world perhaps wasn’t ready for an athlete like myself – and perhaps it is not ready now.
“But I got the sense at least that people were willing to consider me for these competitions and it seemed like the right time to put the boots on and hit the platform.’