Weightlifter set to become the first openly transgender athlete to compete at Olympics

Weightlifter set to become the first openly transgender athlete to compete at Olympics
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A weightlifter from New Zealand is set to become the first openly transgender athlete to compete in the Olympics, Reuters reported Wednesday.

Laurel Hubbard, 43, reportedly has been eligible to compete in the Olympics since 2015 after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) set new guidelines for transgender athletes.

She qualified for this summer's coronavirus-delayed Summer Games in Tokyo after the IOC approved rule changes for qualifying events due to the pandemic.

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Hubbard hasn’t yet been named to the New Zealand women's weightlifting team, but her spot is essentially guaranteed, according to Reuters. 

USA Weightlifting spokesman Kevin Farley told Reuters that the group has no issue with Hubbard competing in the Tokyo games, despite efforts in multiple states to prevent transgender athletes from competing in girls and women's sports.

"We respect the rules established by the International Weightlifting Federation and the International Olympic Committee for qualification and will be focusing on assisting our athletes to compete against all those who are qualified for the Tokyo Games," Farley said.

Reuters says Australia's official weightlifting organization had sought to block Hubbard from competing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, but organizers rejected the move.