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Transgender athlete makes NZ's weightlifting team

A transgender weightlifter has been selected for the Tokyo Olympics.

Laurel Hubbard will be the first transgender athlete to compete at the Games after being selected for New Zealand's national team.

A "historic moment in sport" - according to the head of the country's Olympic Committee.

Hubbard will compete in the super-heavyweight category.

Her selection is likely to reignite the debate over inclusion and fairness in sport.

Richie Patterson is the President of Olympic Weightlifting New Zealand.

"We do know that there are many questions about fairness of transgender athletes competing in the Olympic games but I would like to take this opportunity to remind us all that Laurel has met all of the required criteria. She is a very dedicated and resilient athlete and on behalf of Laurel I would like to say how honored she is to be in the team and appreciative of the support and help she has received to date."

Hubbard had competed in men's weightlifting competitions before transitioning eight years ago.

Since 2015, she has been eligible to compete in the Olympics after new guidelines were issued.

They said that any transgender athlete can compete as a woman provided their testosterone levels are below 10 nanomoles per liter for at least 12 months before their first competition.

Some scientists have argued the guidelines do little to mitigate the biological advantages of those who have gone through puberty as males.

Save Women's Sport Australasia, an organization for women athletes, criticized Hubbard's selection.

"You know, picking testosterone is a red herring. I mean, we are forgetting about the anatomy, the fast, rich muscle, the bigger organs, they have faster recovery, they have stronger bones, they don't have a tilted pelvis so they are less likely to get knee and ankle injuries, the list goes on and on and on."

Advocates for transgender inclusion argue the transition process decreases biological advantages considerably.

The IOC has consistently said it is committed to inclusion but that it's also reviewing its guidelines to take into account the "perceived tension between fairness/safety and inclusion/non-discrimination."

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