Sport

Transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard denied gold medal by horrendous injury

Josh Jackman April 9, 2018
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GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 09: Laurel Hubbard of New Zealand fails to lift leading to an injury in the Women's 90kg Final during Weightlifting on day five of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre on April 9, 2018 on the Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

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Transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has suffered a horrifying injury which denied her the chance to win gold at the Commonwealth Games.

The New Zealand athlete was in pole position for first place in the 90kg-plus category after pulling out ahead of the field on Monday.

But while making a Games-record 132kg lift on her final attempt, her arm buckled dramatically and she had to withdraw.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 09: Laurel Hubbard of New Zealand reacts as she drops the bar and injures herself in the Women's +90kg Final during the Weightlifting on day five of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre on April 9, 2018 on the Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
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The 40-year-old had no regrets about what had happened, saying: “At this stage we don’t know the exact details of the injury,” according to the Australian Associated Press.

“It seems likely that I have ruptured a ligament.

“The one saving grace in all of this is that I’m not in any great pain at the moment. I’m sure that will come with time,” she added.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 09: Laurel Hubbard of New Zealand fails to lift leading to an injury in the Women's 90kg Final during Weightlifting on day five of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre on April 9, 2018 on the Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
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“I have no regrets about the attempts I made because I believe that to be true to sport you really have to try to be the best that you can.”

Hubbard made history by competing at the Gold Coast Games, despite fierce opposition from rivals.

The athlete, who is the top-ranked female weightlifter in the world, became the first trans sportsperson to represent her country.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 09: Laurel Hubbard of New Zealand fails to lift leading to an injury in the Women's 90kg Final during Weightlifting on day five of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre on April 9, 2018 on the Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
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Just yesterday, New Zealand’s high performance director Simon Kent said that “at 40 years of age, this is her last chance to compete on this sort of stage.”

Despite doing everything she could do to prove she deserved her place in the event, Hubbard was forced to endure repeated attempts to stop her from taking part.

Earlier this year, the Australian Weightlifting Federation failed in a formal application to block Hubbard from the Games.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 08: Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard poses during a portrait session on December 8, 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
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In order to compete, Hubbard has had to prove that her testosterone levels meet strict criteria – and her last tests indicated that she has less testosterone than a cis female.

Nevertheless, Australian Weightlifting Federation chief executive Mike Keelan wrote that “it is our strong view that weightlifting has always been a gender-specific sport, male and female, not a competition among individuals of various levels of testosterone.”

“In our respectful view, the current criteria and its application has the potential to devalue women’s weightlifting and discourage female-born athletes from pursuing the sport at an elite level in the future,” he added.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 08: Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard poses during a portrait session on December 8, 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
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The Commonwealth Games Federation rebutted the anti-trans claims of Keelan and his federation, saying that “there is no moral, ethical or legal basis to prevent transgender athletes from pursuing their sporting ambitions.”

And Samoa Weightlifting Federation president and national coach Jerry Wallwork has repeatedly said that Hubbard should not be in the women’s category.

Yesterday, he told ABC: “A man is a man and a woman is a woman.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 08: Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard poses during a portrait session on December 8, 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
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“And I know a lot of changes have gone through, but in the past Laurel Hubbard used to be a male champion weightlifter.”

He added: “The strength is still there and I think it’s very unfair, and for all females it’s unfair.

“The situation may have been accepted by the IOC, but that won’t stop us from protesting, regardless of whether it’s against one of our lifters or not.

(Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

“It’s just very unfair.”

Hubbard said before the Games that “it’s not my role or my goal to change people’s minds.”

“People will think, they will feel and will believe what is right for them,” she added.

(Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

“I’m not here to change the world, I’m just here to be myself.

“I would hope they would support me, but it’s not for me to make them do so.”

Related topics: 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Australia, Australia, laurel hubbard, New Zealand, New Zealand, sport, Trans, Transgender, weightlifter

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