eightlifter Laurel Hubbard will take her place in Olympic history by becoming the first transgender athlete to compete at the games on Monday.
She will compete in the women’s 87kg weightlifting at the Tokyo International Forum against Team GB’s Emily Campbell.
Campbell has backed the New Zealander’s right to compete saying: “She (Hubbard) is a human being and she has qualified for this competition fairly like everyone else has, following rules that we all have to abide by.
“My performance will give me the place I achieve on the day. You have to be a great sportsman in this game, you have to perform in the way you can and give everyone equal respect.
“Obviously there will be a lot of distractions but you’ve got to keep your head in the game. The only person’s performance I can control is my own, so I have to make sure I’m completely in control of that.”
Hubbard herself said she was “grateful and humbled” by the support she was given when she was announced in the six-woman New Zealand Olympic weightlifting team.
She added: “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 of the silver fern comes to all of you and I will wear it with pride.”
Hubbard has been eligible to compete at the Olympics since 2015 when the IOC issued guidelines allowing any transgender athlete to compete as a woman provided their testosterone levels were below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months before their first competition.
Many scientists have criticised these guidelines, saying they do little to mitigate the biological advantages of those who have gone through puberty as males, including bone and muscle density.
Others noted the vast majority of females, including elite athletes, have a testosterone range of 0.12-1.78 nmol/L.
Belgium’s Anna Van Bellinghen, who will likely compete against Hubbard, said the New Zealander’s presence in Tokyo would be “like a bad joke” for other competitors.
Hubbard, the daughter of a former mayor of Auckland, set national records in junior competition under her given name before undergoing hormone therapy and coming out as trans aged 35.
Since then, she has won a silver medal at the 2017 World Championships, broke her arm at the Commonwealth Games before returning in style to claim gold at the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa.
Brad Pitt ‘in new legal suit against Angelina Jolie over French vineyard’
According to DailyMail.com, new court papers accuse Jolie of trying to remove Pitt from a deal to sell her shares in the former couple’s French property and vineyard, Chateau Miraval.
The website says the court papers were filed in Luxembourg on Tuesday in regard to the property in Correns, France.
It says the lawsuit suggests Miraval is owned by Quimicum – which both Pitt and Jolie have a 50 per cent take in through their companies Mondo Bongo and Nouvel respectively.
The suit reportedly alleges that Jolie is attempting to flog her 50 per cent stake while circumventing Pitt’s right of first refusal. It allegedly claims she is attempting to profit from the “incredible amount of work, time and money” invested by Pitt and his business partners.
The papers alleged say: “We understand that behind this systematic obstruction, the real purpose of Nouvel and its shareholder [Jolie] is to sell its stake in Chateau Miraval SA in a way that would circumvent Mondo Bongo’s right of first refusal (as provided in Quimicum’s articles of approval), taking, as a result, a capital gain raised thanks to Mondo Bongo’s investment and to which Nouvel did not contribute.”
The representatives of both Pitt and Jolie have been contacted for comment.
The actress filed for divorce in 2016 and the former Hollywood golden couple, who share six children, have been wrangling in legal proceedings concerning their separation in California largely shielded from public view.
Pitt, 57, was accused of being abusive toward his then-15-year-old son Maddox during the flight, but investigations by child welfare officials and the FBI were closed with no charges being filed.
Jolie, 46, made the allegation in an interview with The Guardian promoting her new book, Know Your Rights And Claim Them, which aims to equip children with the knowledge to challenge injustices.
Asked whether she feared for the safety of her own children, she replied: “Yes, for my family. My whole family.”
Jolie described the divorce and custody proceedings as “horrific”.
She added: “It doesn’t start with the violation (the plane incident). It’s so much more complicated than that.”
Jolie admitted she could not talk in more detail because of her “legal situation” but the newspaper reported she nodded to confirm she was referencing the divorce and allegations she made against her Pitt.
Pitt has always denied being physically abusive towards his children. He has admitted to having alcohol issues around the time of the couple’s separation and to have shouted at one of children in relation to the reported plane incident in 2016.
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