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Competitor Outrage After Kiwi Transgender Weightlifter Wins Aussie Women's Title

Her Australian victory could put her in line for selection be to the NZ weightlifting team for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

When Kiwi Laurel Hubbard took out the women's over 90kg division at the Australian International weightlifting competition in Melbourne on Sunday, she achieved a personal first - her first ever victory in an international event.

The nature of that victory merits it, too. Hubbard lifted 123kg in the snatch discipline and 145kg in the clean-and-jerk for a combined 268kg total that was 19kg better than the second-placed contender.


A One News report on Laurel Hubbard, prior to the Australian International event in Melbourne last weekend. Source: Youtube.

The title notched up another a first too, with Hubbard becoming the first Kiwi transgender weightlifter to win an international competition. It's the second of those two achievements that the 39-year-old Hubbard - who was born Gavin and transitioned in her mid-30s - is attracting criticism and outrage for.

Two-time Australian Olympic weightlifter Deborah Acason told One News that Hubbard's inclusion in the women's ever was unequal.

"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?," she asked.

Ex Family First Aus candidate & weightlifter Deborah Acason doesn't want Laurel Hubbard competing against her. Transphobia or sore loser?

— Jenny Kay (@JennyKayNZ)March 20, 2017

Fellow Australian Kaitlyn Fassina, who finished third in Hubbard's division, was also appeared unhappy when also talking to One News.

"She is who she is. That's the way the politics…and what the New Zealanders have decided," Fassina said of Hubbard, a NZ national record holder. "I can't say much more than that. She is seen as female and that's the way it is."

Last January, the IOC relaxed its policy on transgender athletes to allow them to compete without having surgery. However, to do so, women must keep testersone levels below a certain figure for 12 months before competing.


Laurel Hubbard smashing a 140kg clean and jerk — Kimberlee Downs (@KimberleeDowns)March 19, 2017

Under former guidelines, transgender athletes were required to have had re-assignment surgery followed by at least two years of hormone therapy to compete.

The Australian Weightlifting Federation has suggested a separate transgender category be set up, though New Zealand team manager Emma Pilkington disagreed.

"I can't speak on behalf of them, but I feel like they would just like to be consider who they are - that is a male or a female, and what they chose to be. I don't think we need to create another category for it to ensure fair play."

Assumption; the men criticising Laurel Hubbard for not being 'a real woman' are the ones who call all weightlifting women manly already.

— Alison Grant (@AlisonLPG)March 20, 2017

Don't expect this to be the last time that Hubbard - who declined interview requests in Melbourne - is in the news. Her victory in Australia could put her in line to be selected for the Kiwi weightlifting team for next year's Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.