New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has become the first openly transgender athlete picked to compete at an Olympic Games.
Laurel, 43-year-old was selected to compete in the women’s 87-kg weightlifting category.
“I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders,” she told after her selection.
Hubbard, who is from Auckland, is a silver medalist of the 2017 World Championships and gold medalist of the 2019 Pacific Games. She has battled a serious injury in 2018 that threatened to cut her career short.
“When I broke my arm at the Commonwealth Games three years ago, I was advised that my sporting career had likely reached its end. But your support, your encouragement, and your ‘aroha’ [affection] carried me through the darkness,” she added.
“We look forward to supporting her in her final preparations towards Tokyo,” said Richie Patterson, the head of Olympic Weightlifting New Zealand.
“We acknowledge that gender identity in sport is a highly sensitive and complex issue requiring a balance between human rights and fairness on the field of play,” said Kereyn Smith, CEO of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, in the statement.
“As the New Zealand Team, we have a strong culture of manaaki and inclusion and respect for all,” “We are committed to supporting all eligible New Zealand athletes and ensuring their mental and physical wellbeing, along with their high-performance needs, while preparing for and competing at the Olympic Games are met,” Smith added.