Trans Weightlifter Gets Sportswoman Of The Year Award In New Zealand

Posted by Annie N. in Sports On 11th October 2021

A trans weightlifter won Sportswoman of the Year award in New Zealand. Laurel Hubbard was also the first transwoman to appear in the Olympics and received the award from the University of Otago.

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A trans weightlifter in New Zealand has just been the recipient of the Sportswoman of the Year award. The award presented by the University of Otago recognized her achievements in the weightlifting category making her the first transgender winner in the 113-year history of this award. 

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The 43-year-old was also the first openly trans woman to compete in a solo Olympic event. She qualified for the 87kg and over category for women at the Tokyo Olympics Games but was eliminated.

She said in a statement that she was, “grateful for all of the support and kindness received from the teaching staff and students at Otago University”

“It is not possible for athletes to complete at the Olympic level without the encouragement and aroha of friends, family and supporters.”

“This award belongs to everyone who has been part of my Olympic journey.”

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When she had first qualified for the Olympics she said, “I see the Olympic Games as a global celebration of our hopes, ideals and values and I would like to thank the IOC for its commitment to making sport inclusive and accessible,”

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Hubbard had previously competed as a junior male athlete at the age of 20 before her transition and the daughter of Auckland Mayor Dick Hubbard.

She had taken a hiatus from the sport after the pressure of conventional masculinity had gotten too much for her and made her return after her transition, winning two World Championship medals.

“I'm not here to change the world. I just want to be me and do what I do.”

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People lauded the weightlifter and the University for this decision and recognising her achievements.

"A beautiful gesture from UoO. Let's hope this empowers more like her to enter competitive sports. #LaurelHubbard"

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The decision however was also met with a lot of controversies.

"First, awarding #LaurelHubbard with "Sportswoman of the Year" is an open #discrimination against biological women athletes 

Second, they have just devalued this award itself

I would not be surprised if the next year award winner would turn it down."

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Some claimed that the award was virtue signaling and that Laurel was not qualified for the award regardless of her gender. 

"Lisa Carrington, with three gold medals became New Zealand's most medalled Olympic athlete ever.

She was beaten to sports woman of the year by a man, who failed to even qualify in the female weightlifting finals.

And that’s a fact. Well done Lisa 👏🏻"

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