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Trans weightlifter Laurel Hubbard will compete at the Olympic Games this summer, it has been confirmed.
The 43-year-old athlete has been cleared to compete for New Zealand's female weightlifting team at the tournament in Tokyo, Japan, which starts next week.
A ruling from the International Olympic Committee on Saturday (17 July) stated that she would star in the super-heavyweight category and that the decision does not violate any of the current rules for the competition.
According to Reuters, IOC boss Thomas Bach said during a new conference: "The rules for qualification have been established by the International Weightlifting Federation before the qualifications started.
"These rules apply, and you cannot change rules during ongoing competitions."
However, Bach did say that the rules could be reevaluated.
He said: "At the same time the IOC is in an inquiry phase with all different stakeholders... to review these rules and finally to come up with some guidelines which cannot be rules because this is a question where there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
"It differs from sport to sport."
When asked on several occasions whether he supported Hubbard's appearance in the upcoming games, Bach said it was a decision based on the rules of the sport.
"The rules are in place and the rules have to be applied and you cannot change the rules during an ongoing qualification system," he said.
"This is what all the athletes of the world are relying on: that the rules are being applied."
Hubbard had previously competed in men's events before transitioning in 2012 and returning to weightlifting in 2017.
Last month, the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) announced that Hubbard would be participating in the women's category.
As well as being the first trans athlete to compete in the Olympics, Hubbard will also be the oldest weightlifter at this summer's games after lifting 628lbs (185kg) in two lifts on the way to qualifying.
Speaking at the time, Hubbard said in a statement that she was excited to compete.
She said: "I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders.
"When I broke my arm at the Commonwealth Games three years ago, I was advised that my sporting career had likely reached its end.
"But your support, your encouragement, and your aroha [love] carried me through the darkness.
"The last eighteen months has shown us all that there is strength in kinship, in community, and in working together towards a common purpose.
"The mana [honour] of the silver fern comes from all of you and I will wear it with pride."
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