Transgender Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard Continues Olympic Bid

Yahoo reports the fairness of transgender athletes competing in women’s sports will be under the microscope in Australia on Sunday when New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard continues her bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

Hubbard, who competed in men’s weightlifting competitions before transitioning seven years ago, will lift in the women’s 87-plus kg division in the Australian Open in Canberra on Sunday.

She kept her Olympic hopes alive by winning last month’s World Cup in Rome where she lifted 270kg, edging Ukraine’s Anastasiia Lysenko by 4kg.

The Australian Open offers another chance for 42-year-old Hubbard to shore up ranking points in qualifying, which requires lifters to compete in at least six events in an 18-month period before the Games.

Hubbard is eligible to compete in women’s events, according to the International Weightlifting Federation’s guidelines for the inclusion of transgender athletes. She is also eligible to lift at Tokyo if she qualifies.

The International Olympic Committee’s guidelines, issued in 2015, allow any transgender athlete to compete as a woman provided their testosterone levels are below 10 nanomoles per liter for at least 12 months before their first competition.

Some scientists have criticized the guidelines, saying they do little to mitigate the biological advantages of those who have gone through puberty as males, including bone and muscle density.

Sports like weightlifting, which place a premium on strength, are at the center of the debate.

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