Another female athlete speaks out about males opting into women’s powerlifting

Maria Barwig, a Strongman woman’s pro athlete, is breaking the silence after competing against Audrey Yun, a transgender athlete dominating two women’s power sports despite being accused of harassing female competitors.

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In today’s report, I head to Olympians Gym in Maple Ridge, British Columbia to interview one of Canada’s strongest women, who is speaking out about the lack of inclusion and fairness female strength athletes experience when competing against biologically advantaged males in their sports.

Maria Barwig, a single mother and domestic abuse survivor, won last year’s Strongman Corporation's Women’s Open Heavyweight Weight Nationals and recently became British Columbia’s newest heavyweight pro.

While Barwig has found an empowering release through taking the sport seriously, she says she felt helpless when having to compete against a biological male who identifies as a woman, named Audrey Yun.

“It’s just not fair. Like, what’s the point of training if there’s an unfair advantage?” Barwig says she began to ask herself, while preparing for the event in which Yun would be her competitor.

To make matters worse, Yun went on to take three Strongman awards last year before receiving a six-month ban after allegedly harassing and mocking the women “she” would be competing against.

After gaining the support of top Canadian powerlifter April Hutchinson, a leader in defending fairness in women’s sports, Barwig began to speak out behind the scenes and on social media about the lack of inclusiveness women feel when their chances of making the podium are hindered by biologically advantaged trans identifying males like Yun.

Following the pushback, the Strongman Corp. adopted a more fair competition option, an open gender category for individuals who do not identify with their biological sex.

Unfortunately, the struggle didn’t stop there. Despite Yun being banned from Strongman events, the Canadian Powerlifting Union —the same union that slapped Hutchinson with an initial two-year ban after speaking out about males in women’s sports — welcomed Yun to compete against their female athletes. Consequently, Yun now holds the title of winning first place in the women’s B.C. Powerlifting Winter Opens.

“It’s completely hypocritical,” Hutchinson, who was also interviewed for this report, told Rebel News. “I got banned for two years for stating a biological fact basically. Audrey, who was suspended from Strongman Corporation for harassing not just myself but male and female athletes in Strongman Corporation, took the six-month suspension but decided to roll on over here to the Canadian Powerlifting Union, compete, and take a gold medal away from female competitors,” said April.

Despite being mislabeled transphobic or risking losing potential sponsorship opportunities, both Barwig and Hutchinson are continuing to speak up for justice in women's sports.

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