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Weightlifter Emily Campbell defends the right of Laurel Hubbard to compete at the Tokyo Olympics

Weightlifter Emily Campbell defends Laurel Hubbard’s Tokyo inclusion with New Zealander set to become the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics… as Team GB star insists ‘she’s qualified for this competition fairly’

British weightlifter Emily Campbell has defended the right of Laurel Hubbard to compete at the Olympics — but hopes the transgender storm does not prevent young girls from taking up the sport.

Team GB confirmed on Wednesday Campbell’s selection in the women’s superheavyweight category in Tokyo, where she will come up against Hubbard, the first transgender athlete to compete at the Games.

The inclusion of the New Zealander, 43, prompted criticism from campaign groups and rival lifters.

Laurel Hubbard (above) will be the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics

However Campbell, who is a medal contender having won European gold in April, said: ‘She’s a human being and she has feelings and she’s qualified for this competition fairly like everyone else. The IOC have rules we all have to abide by. The only person’s performance that I can control is my one.

‘I’ve got to make sure I’m completely in control of that and I go out in the best shape I can and have no excuses.’

Hubbard, who competed in men’s events before transitioning in 2013, goes into Tokyo ranked fourth based on qualifying, having won a silver medal at the 2017 World Championships. 

Asked how she rated Hubbard’s chances, Campbell added: ‘She hasn’t competed this year, so I can only really go off the shape people are in this year. 

‘My performance will give me what place I get on the day. If I give a performance that comes fourth, that’s where I come.’

Team GB star Emily Campbell has defended Hubbard’s right to take part in Tokyo this summer

The inclusion of Hubbard, 43, has prompted criticism from campaign groups and some rivals

Campbell, 27, hopes Tokyo can shine a positive light on women’s weightlifting, with Team GB sending a record three females. 

Zoe Smith and Sarah Davies are the other athletes and Campbell said: ‘To have three girls qualifying, it shows you don’t have to sacrifice your femininity to be a weightlifter. 

‘I hope we inspire younger girls to go into the gym and pick up a barbell.’ 

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