Laurel Hubbard, a New Zealand weightlifter born male but now competing as a transgender female, is working to win a spot at the Olympics.
Hubbard competed as a man for years in New Zealand, but seven years ago began transitioning to a female. Hubbard is now set to compete in the women’s 87-plus kg division in the Australian Open in Canberra on Sunday, NBC reports.
The New Zealander won last month’s World Cup in Rome, lifting 270kg to beat Ukraine’s Anastasiia Lysenko by 4kg.
Olympics candidates need to complete six events or more in the 18 months before the Olympic tryouts to qualify.
Hubbard has qualified to compete as a woman per the newest rules put in place by the International Weightlifting Federation’s guidelines as well as the International Olympic Committee’s rules. Natural-born men who wish to compete as a woman must have testosterone levels are below ten nanomoles per liter for at least a year before their first competition, the IOC says.
The IOC’s rules are not without controversy, though. The IOC recently shelved attempts to change its rules, but pulled back when the committee’s own scientists could not agree on standards.
Hubbard has been tearing through female competitors in New Zealand and Australia, winning event after event, and drawing criticism along the way.
As NBC noted, former Australia athlete Tamsyn Manou, a three-time Commonwealth gold medalist, has criticized Hubbard and called for natural-born female athletes to “take a stand” against allowing athletes born make to compete against women.
“There’s been a lot of people who are scared to come out and say anything because of political correctness,” Manou recently told the media.
Transgender athletes are also opposed outside of sports. A recent Rasmussen poll found that American citizens oppose men competing as women by a two-to-one margin among adults.
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