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Transgender athlete backed by Nauruan champion

Nauruan-born Australian weightlifter Charisma Amoe-Tarrant has backed the inclusion of New Zealand transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard and says she is happy to compete against her at the Tokyo Games.

“I have so much respect for her,” Amoe-Tarrant told News.com.au.

“I wish her and everyone else, all the other lifters, the best and I hope we all come together and enjoy the Olympics.”

Twenty-two-year old Amoe-Tarrant competed in the women’s +90 kg event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, winning the silver medal for Nauru.

She switched allegiances from Nauru to Australia and was selected for the Australian team at the Pacific Games held in Samoa in 2019, where she won a bronze medal for the +87 kg snatch.

She is part of a five-strong Australian Olympics weightlifting team for Tokyo – which also includes Erika Yamasaki (59kg), Kiana Elliott (64kg), Brandon Wakeling (73kg) and Matthew Lydement (+109kg).

New Zealand’s weightlifting team includes 43-year-old Hubbard, who after transitioning at the age of 35 has competed at international level since 2017 and won eight events.

Hubbard will be the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics after being selected by New Zealand for the women’s event at the Tokyo Games.

Hubbard’s eligibility did not sit well with all as her Belgian rival Anna Vanbellinghen said it was a “bad joke”.

Australian Olympic team deputy chef de mission Susie O’Neill said Hubbard’s eligibility should not be questioned.

“As athletes we’re used to following rules, and Laurel has passed the rules that the International Olympics Committee has set to compete in the Olympic Games,” O’Neill said.

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