Laurel Hubbard, a 39-year-old transgender who was a man until a few years ago, won her first international women’s weightlifting title in Australia on Monday, demolishing four national records and beating the next closest competitor by a colossal 19 kilograms.
However competitors were left enraged when they discovered that Laurel previously competed at national men’s level as Gavin Hubbard.
Stuff.co.nz reports: The 39-year-old lifted 123kg in the snatch discipline, and then produced a clean-and-jerk lift of 145kg for a 268kg total – 19kg better than the second-placed competitor.
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Hubbard was congratulated by her competitors after the ceremony.
However, afterwards, bronze medallist Kaitlyn Fassina was less effusive about the transgender winner.
“She is who she is. That’s the way the politics…and what the New Zealanders have decided. I can’t say much more than that. She is seen as female and that’s the way it is.“
Two-time Olympian Deborah Acason went further.
“If I was in that category I wouldn’t feel like I was in an equal situation. I just feel that if it’s not even why are we doing the sport?“
Weightlifting New Zealand’s Emma Pilkington said Hubbard was feeling “overwhelmed“.
“She’s so genuine, she loves all her team-mates and her teammates are all really supportive.“
That result will give Hubbard a major claim for selection for the NZ weightlifting team for next year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia.
It’s understood Hubbard, who once competed at national level as Gavin Hubbard, transitioned in her mid-30s.