Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has backed the selection of trailblazing athlete Laurel Hubbard in New Zealand’s Olympic team, saying she goes to Tokyo with the country’s full support.
Ms Hubbard will become the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics after winning selection in New Zealand’s weightlifting team. The 43-year-old met multiple eligibility standards set by the sport, the International Olympic Committee, and the New Zealand Olympic Committee.
Her selection has reignited a debate over the appropriate criteria for trans athletes but Ms Ardern said Ms Hubbard should be treated like any other Kiwi.
‘Laurel is a member of our Olympic team and has support from us,’ she said.
‘All parties here have simply followed the rules. That’s the case for Laurel but also the team in New Zealand, they have followed the rules.’ Sport Minister Grant Robertson said he was ‘extremely proud of Laurel Hubbard as I am of all of New Zealand’s Olympic team’.
‘She deserves to be there and we’ll be supporting her,’ he said.Dailymail.co.uk: News, Sport, Showbiz, Celebrities from Daily MailPauseNext video0:23 / 1:45SettingsFull-screenRead More Ms Hubbard was also praised by conservative opposition leader Judith Collins, who noted the debate around the weightlifter’s inclusion but offered her personal support amidst a backlash.
‘Anybody who gets chosen to be an Olympic team member has already gone through a tremendous amount. I’m in awe of anybody who can get to that level,’ Ms Collins said.
Read More: New Zealand’s PM throws her support behind transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard