New Zealand PM backs transgender weightlifter’s Olympic selection

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06/22/2021

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday defended the selection of transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard for the Tokyo Olympics, a decision that has fuelled a debate over inclusion and fairness in sport. Hubbard will become the first transgender athlete to compete at the Games after she was selected for the New Zealand team in the women’s super-heavyweight 87+kg category. The 43-year-old’s inclusion has been divisive with her supporters welcoming the decision while critics have questioned the fairness of transgender athletes competing against women. “Parties here have simply followed the rules. That’s the case for Laurel but also the team in New Zealand – they have followed the rules,” Ardern told reporters in Wellington. “The alternative is to have someone who followed the rules but then is denied the ability to participate. So, ultimately, I leave it to those bodies and that’s the decision they have made and it’s in keeping with the standard that has been set globally.”

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