Leilani Dowding reacts to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games controversy ‘I just don’t agree!’

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Leilani Dowding is no stranger when it comes to airing what is on her mind and she certainly hasn’t held back with her thoughts on the Olympic Games. The former model has shared her dismay after Laurel Hubbard competed in the women’s weightlifting round during Tokyo 2020.

I don’t think somebody who was born a male should be competing against women.

Leilani Dowding

Laurel, 43, was selected for the women’s weightlifting team, after the qualifying requirements were modified.

The New Zealand national had previously competed in men’s events before she came out as transgender back in 2013.

While some argued that she had an unfair advantage, many have praised the Olympic committee after it was announced that Laurel would be competing.

Now, former Page 3 model Leilani Dowding has criticised the decision, saying she is not a fan.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Leilani said: “I’m not a fan, I don’t think somebody who was born a male should be competing against women.”

Speaking more generally, Bournemouth-born Leilani continued: “I don’t advocate people younger than 16 being given drugs to change their hormones.”

Leilani went on to claim that Laurel had “taken the spot of a female” during the games.

She claimed that it’s “dangerous territory” following the news that trans YouTuber Chris Chan, 39, was filed as female in a prison report and will be jailed with women – after being arrested for allegedly raping her mother who suffers from dementia and is being held in Central Virginia Regional Jail, without bail on suspicion of incest, a crime punishable by 12 years in prison.

The former Real Housewives of Cheshire star claimed: “So, you know, for males and females to compete against each other, it is irrelevant if a male or female could win.

“But for something where it’s a symbol of strength is a whole completely different ballgame, really.”

Laurel competed in the women’s 87kg weightlifting category in Tokyo but struggled with three failed snatch lifts, placing her last.

While making history as the first trans athlete, Laurel was also the oldest person to compete at an Olympic Games.

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Speaking about the reaction she received, Laurel said: “I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders.”

The decision to allow Laurel to compete came after the International Olympic Committee ruled in 2015 that transgender athletes would be allowed to compete as females, should their testosterone levels be below a certain amount.

Richie Patterson, head of Olympic Weightlifting New Zealand, stated that Laurel had shown “grit and perseverance” in her recovery from an injury in 2018 that threatened her career.

Laurel made a rapid recovery after suffering an injury to her arm at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

After being selected for the 2020 Olympics, she said: “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’ [affection] carried me through the darkness.”

The athlete lived as a male for 35 years but didn’t compete in international lifting until she had transitioned.

However, in 2017, she revealed that she took up weightlifting when living as a male in order to make herself feel more masculine.

Since her transition, Laurel has gone on to win several titles including a gold at the 2017 and 2019 Commonwealth Champions.

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