Female Weightlifter Reacts Angrily to Competing against Transgender in Olympic Games
'Like a bad joke'
Female weightlifter Anna Vanbellinghen is not too happy about the prospect of competing against former men’s weightlifting competitor turned-trans "woman," Laurel Hubbard, the upcoming Olympic Games.
The Belgian weightlifter reacted to the news describing it as “a bad joke.”
“First off, I would like to stress that I fully support the transgender community, and that what I’m about to say doesn’t come from a place of rejection of this athlete’s identity,” Vanbellinghen said earlier this month.
“I am aware that defining a legal frame for transgender participation in sports is very difficult since there is an infinite variety of situations, and that reaching an entirely satisfactory solution, from either side of the debate, is probably impossible.”
“However, 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,” the athlete emphasized.
Hubbard has an inherent unfair advantage over biologically female competitors, Vanbellinghen notes.
“So why is it still a question whether two decades, from puberty to the age of 35, with the hormonal system of a man also would give an advantage?”
“I understand that for sports authorities, nothing is as simple as following your common sense and that there are a lot of impracticalities when studying such a rare phenomenon, but for athletes, the whole thing feels like a bad joke,” Vanbellinghen continued.
“Life-changing opportunities are missed for some athletes — medals and Olympic qualifications — and we are powerless.”
Hubbard, who previously competed in men's events as Gavin Hubbard with little success before becoming a "champion female" lifter, crushed the competition during qualifying sessions by lifting 628 pounds in two lifts.
43-year-old Hubbard said in a statement, according to the BBC:
"I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders."
New Zealand Olympic Committee chief executive Kereyn Smith said it’s clear Hubbard has met all the criteria to compete in Tokyo.
"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," Smith said.
"As the New Zealand Team, we have a strong culture of manaaki (hospitality) and inclusion and respect for all."