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How the transgender Olympic athlete is causing divide

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History will be made at the Tokyo Olympics this year, with a transgender New Zealand athlete set to compete.

Meet weightlifter Laurel Hubbard – 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 will compete in the super-heavyweight 87-kg category, her selection made possible by updated qualifying requirements.

The 43-year-old, will also be the oldest lifter at the Games.

Hubbard had competed in men’s weightlifting competitions before transitioning in 2013.

“I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders,”

Hubbard said in a statement issued by the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) on Monday.

Hubbard has been eligible to compete at Olympics since 2015, at a time when the International Olympic Committee issued guidelines allowing any transgender athlete to compete as a woman provided their testosterone levels are below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months before their first competition.

“I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders,”

The decision is set to fuel the debate over inclusion and fairness in sport.

Though Hubbard has been welcomed into the games, some scientists have stated that the guidelines do little to mitigate the biological advantages of those who have gone through puberty as males, including bone and muscle density.

Advocates for transgender inclusion argue the process of transition decreases that advantage considerably. They say that physical differences between athletes mean there is never a truly level playing field.

The New Zealand government shown its support

The New Zealand Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson says the government supports Hubbard’s selection to compete in the games.

“Laurel is a member of New Zealand’s Olympic team. We are proud of her as we are of all our athletes, and will be supporting her all the way,”

The New Zealand Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson supports Hubbard.

Tokyo Olympics creeps closer

The Tokyo Olympics will start on Friday July 23 2021 after being postponed due to coronavirus.

There has been concern over the safety of the games, with many stating the event should be canceled entirely.

Anthony Lucas is reporter, presenter and social media producer with ticker News. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Professional Communication, with a major in Journalism from RMIT University as well as a Diploma of Arts and Entertainment journalism from Collarts. He’s previously worked for 9 News, ONE FM Radio and Southern Cross Austerio’s Hit Radio Network. 

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Sport

Williams loses first round at Wimbledon

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There’s been a bit of drama on the court as the most prestigious tennis Grand Slam gets underway

Spectators filled the All England Club on Monday to watch the biggest tennis stars hit the court at Wimbledon.

After coming back from a lengthy break, Serena Williams lost in three sets to 24-year-old, Harmony Tan.

“When I saw the draw, I was really scared. I don’t know what to say, I’m so emotional now because she’s a superstar,” Tan says.

Tan took the first set 7-5, before Williams took over 6-1. Tan fought back to win a thrilling third set tie-breaker.

“Because it’s Serena Williams, she’s a legend. I was like, oh my God. How can I play? If I could win one game, or two games, it’s really good for me.”

HARMONY TAN

Despite her dramatic loss, the former world number one is brushing off retirement rumours.

Kyrgios spits at crowd

Meanwhile, in men’s singles, Aussie tennis star, Nick Kyrgios, caused a bit of a stir calling the chair umpire a “snitch” after she supposedly complained to the court umpire about his behaviour.

The 27-year-old will likely be up for a fine for also spitting towards a fan during the match.

Kyrgios says there was a lot of disrespect from the crowd, which is why he admitted to spitting towards a fan.

“I’ve been dealing with hate and negativity for a long time, so I don’t feel like I owed that person anything,” he says.

The ATP remains in crisis talks over Wimbledon’s Russia ban.

Katerina Kostakos contributed to this report

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Mike Riley steps down as referee chief

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One of the biggest names in the referee world, Mike Riley, has confirmed he will be stepping down as head of the English League referees

After 13 years, Mike Riley has confirmed he will be stepping down from his role as managing director of Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL).

The iconic referee leader will finish his role at the end of the 2022-23 season. Riley says he has enjoyed working in such a ‘dedicated group’.

“I am proud of the contribution our match officials have made to the professional game and have enjoyed working with a such a dedicated, professional and high-quality group at all of the levels that PGMOL manages.

As the elite referee development plan begins to take shape, now is the right time to plan for the future and allow the new leadership team to build on the strong foundations that we have in place. I look forward to working with the new team over the next season and giving them my support before I step down.”

mike riley

The Premier League formally thanked Riley for his contributions and commitment over the last 13 years.

“On behalf of the Premier League, I would like to thank Mike for his valuable contribution and significant commitment to PGMOL over the last 13 years as well as his considerable service to the game as an elite referee for 20 years,” said the Premier League chief executive, Richard Masters.

“During his time at PGMOL, he has worked hard to deliver and develop high-quality match officials across the professional game and led on the implementation of VAR into the Premier League three seasons ago.”

PGMOL

The search is now on to replace the top spot with Riley collaborating with the new team before officially stepping down.

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Hero coach rescues U.S. swimmer at Olympic event

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U.S. Swimming coach, Andrea Fuentes, has saved the life of an American Swimmer, Anita Alvarez, at the FINA World Championships

Fuentes dived into the pool to rescue unconscious Alvarez from the bottom after her Olympic qualifying event.

In a nightmare moment, the 25-year-old didn’t return for breath after her synchronised swimming event and instead began to sink.

In a split-moment decision, Coach Fuentes jumped into the pool to rescue her, after the lifeguards failed to act.

When a swimmer finishes their routine, the first thing they want to do is breathe and so I saw that instead of going up, she was going down and I told myself, ‘Something is going on’ … So I went in as fast as I could.”

Andrea Fuentes

The young Olympic medalist was unconscious and not breathing but quickly received medical attention on the edge of the pool.

She was taken to hospital and is now reportedly in ‘good health’.

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