With trans weightlifter set to make history at the Olympics, women athletes feel cheated, insulted

New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard is set to compete in Tokyo after the introduction of new rules letting transgender women enter female events. This is an affront to top athletes who spend their lives training to be the world’s best.

The decision to allow transgender athlete Laurel Hubbard to compete in women’s weightlifting at the Tokyo Olympics is unlikely to affect the medal hopes of the world’s top-ranked athletes. But it does leave one question unanswered – what the hell is going on in sport?

The 43-year-old will be the oldest weightlifter at Tokyo and first openly transgender athlete to compete at an Olympics.

While the place of the Hubbard-formerly-known-as-Gavin in the Kiwi line-up for Japan is yet to be confirmed – the final squad won’t be announced until next month – a complicated rule change of the type so often used in sport to get around inconvenient restrictions, enhanced this time around by the impact of Covid-19, means the inclusion of the born-as-male weightlifter is guaranteed.

Aah, that word. Inclusion. Used to be the only yardstick for inclusion in sport meant having the right kit. The less equipment you needed to compete, the more inclusive. Which is often used to explain the worldwide popularity of football or running. For the former you just need a ball, for the latter you need nothing.