Belgian weightlifter Anna Vanbellinghen said that allowing transgender New Zealand athlete Laurel Hubbard to compete in the women’s event at the Tokyo Olympics is unfair and that the situation is “like a bad joke”.
Principle of inclusion
Vanbellinghen, who competes in the same +87kg division as Hubbard, said that while she fully supported the transgender community the principle of inclusion should not be “at the expense of others”.
“Anyone that has trained weightlifting at a high level knows this to be true in their bones: this particular situation is unfair to the sport and to the athletes,” she told Olympics news website insidethegames.
Hubbard, who competed in men’s competitions before transitioning in 2013, is set to become the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics after weightlifting’s governing body modified qualifying requirements for Tokyo. The 43-year-old still has to satisfy the New Zealand Olympic Committee of her fitness and performance standards before selection, but the prospect of her participation has already raised eyebrows.