Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Transgender NZ weightlifter withdraws after injury

Laurel Hubbard Laurel Hubbard
Chelsea Rogers | 10 April, 2018, 20:28

The 40-year-old New Zealander, who lived as Gavin Hubbard until four years ago and competed at national level as a man, finished second in the women's super-heavyweights behind American Sarah Robles at the world championships in December last year.

Hubbard twisted her elbow while attempting a Commonwealth record snatch lift of 132 kg, but dropped the bar behind her in clear pain.

Hubbard was expected to star on stage at the Commonwealth Games by winning weightlifting gold, then be thrust again into the harsh glare by us, the media.

Hubbard had been "really buoyed" by the crowd's reaction to her first lift, he said. Hubbard was judged eligible to compete as a woman previous year after showing testosterone levels below the threshold required by the International Olympic Committee.

She was in a comfortable lead after lifting 120kg in the 90kg+ category.

"And I know a lot of changes have gone through, but in the past Laurel Hubbard used to be a male champion weightlifter". It was a sad end to the competition for her and a convenient one for all those people who have been watching with incredulity.

Hubbard participated in the games twice before she transitioned in 2014.

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Simon Molombe, a spokesperson for the Cameroon team, said: "I'm of the opinion that her past has an influence on her present output, and gives her an edge over others".

But what they - being the critics - didn't consider was that New Zealand's transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard was just as vulnerable to injury as any other athlete. "It seems likely that I have ruptured a ligament or ... some fairly significant tissue damage, but until we have further scanning we won't know the details or extent of the injury", Hubbard said.

Laurel Hubbard was forced to withdraw from her event due to injury.

Stowers, whose coach had slammed Hubbard's entry as an "unfair advantage" in the lead-up, claimed gold with a combined total of 253kg, ahead of Nauruan Charisma Amoe-Tarrant (243) and England's Emily Campbell (242).

Commentators were stunned with the accident using Kiwi sporting identities pushing for Hubbard to haul the Kiwi flag in to the closing ceremony earlier in the week.

However, she had been the aim of widespread protests and also uproar from competing Pilates federations, which comprised formal asks on her to be banned from the Commonwealth Games.

"It wouldn't be true if I said I wasn't unhappy at the moment but the nature of sport means that things don't always go your way and it is what it is", added Hubbard.

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