The New Zealand team said on Saturday they were helping weightlifter Laurel Hubbard cope with “enormous concentration” as she prepares to become the first transgender Olympian.
Hubbard, who was born male but became a female in her thirties, sparked debate with her selection, which came after she met the qualifying criteria for transgender competitors.
“We work very closely with Laurel, as we do with any athlete, but mostly because of the huge focus on her,” said Ashley Abbott, communications director for the New Zealand Olympic Committee.
“To look at what’s going to be best for her in terms of interacting with the media. So of course there are limits and things like that. “
Hubbard became eligible for lifting as a woman after proving her testosterone levels were below the threshold required by the International Olympic Committee. She will compete in the women’s category + 87kg in Tokyo.
IOC rules state that a trans woman can compete as long as her testosterone level is below 10 nanomoles per liter.
But critics say that Hubbard has many physical advantages to becoming a man that make his presence in competition unfair for born athletes.
Hubbard, an extremely private person who avoids the media, also competed in the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast, where she suffered a career-threatening injury.
“We will continue to work with her and make sure she is supported at all times and understands what the environment might look like,” Abbott said.
“It is definitely something that we have considered. ”
© 2021 AFP