Ben Fordham slams decision to award Kiwi Olympic transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard sportswoman of the year – saying the decision makes ‘life HARDER for women’
- Transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard named sportswoman of the year 2021
- Ben Fordham slammed decision saying the move made life ‘harder for women’
- University of Otago, New Zealand, awarded the title to Ms Hubbard last week
- Follows her appearance as first transgender woman to compete at Olympics
- Qualified for the 87+ kg women’s weightlifting but failed to make successful lift
Ben Fordham has slammed the decision to given weightlifting champion Laurel Hubbard a New Zealand sportswoman of the year award.
The 2GB radio host criticised the award given by the University of Otago, saying the move was making life ‘harder for women’.
Ben Fordham (pictured) criticised the decision to name transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard sportswoman of the year, saying the move was ‘hurting progress’
‘It’s hurting the progress that we’re making in women’s sport,’ Ben Fordham said on his breakfast program on Tuesday.
‘They think they’re being inclusive, but they’re making life harder for women.’
Fordham said he feared the future of women’s sport was at risk from the ‘woke brigade’, stressing it comes down to ‘strictly biology’.
‘Please, make this stop. When the sportswoman of the year is born a man political correctness has gone a mile too far,’ Mr Fordham begged.
‘If we keep on listening to the woke brigade there won’t be a need for women’s sport.
‘It comes down to biology, men are usually – not always – stronger than women,’ he added.
Laurel Hubbard is the first transgender winner of the award in its 113-year history celebrating sporting greatness.
New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard (pictured) has been named sportswoman of the year by New Zealand’s University of Otago
Ms Hubbard, 43, became the first openly transgender woman to compete in a solo event at the Olympics when she qualified for the women’s 87+ kg weightlifting at the Tokyo Olympic Games earlier this year.
But the Queenstown athlete failed to make a successful lift in the snatch and was eliminated from the event.
Ms Hubbard said she was ‘grateful for all of the support and kindness received from the teaching staff and students at Otago University in a statement to the Otago Daily Times.
‘It is not possible for athletes to complete at the Olympic level without the encouragement and aroha of friends, family and supporters.
‘This award belongs to everyone who has been part of my Olympic journey.’
While the Queenstown athletes failed to win a medal, she thanked the IOC for its commitment to making sport inclusive
Ms Hubbard, who transitioned in 2012, qualified for the Olympic Games after the International Olympic Committee changed their rules to allow women to compete if their testosterone levels are below a certain threshold.
She released a statement after qualifying for the Games through the IOC thanking them for their inclusivity.
‘I see the Olympic Games as a global celebration of our hopes, ideals and values and I would like to thank the IOC for its commitment to making sport inclusive and accessible,’ she said.
Ms Hubbard, the daughter of former Auckland mayor Dick Hubbard, competed for New Zealand as a 20-year-old junior male athlete before she transitioned nine years ago.
She said she had taken up weightlifting as a boy to appear more masculine before the pressure of living as a man became too much for her.
She took a 16-year hiatus from the sport, stunning the world in 2017 when she returned, winning two world championship silver medals in the 90kg class in California in 2017.
‘I’m not here to change the world,’ she said after the victory. ‘I just want to be me and do what I do.’