A 39-year old weightlifter who recently transitioned from being a man into a woman is now dominating the female weightlifting competition and will represent New Zeland in the New Zealand Olympic Committee, reports Western Journalism.
Once known as Gavin, but now goes by Laurel Hubbard, she had been a national junior record-holder as a male weightlifter, competing in the 105 kg (321 lb) weight class.
Now Hubbard is finding a lot more success competing against females.
“‘Hubbard has broken two records which were previously held by Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Tracey Lambrechs, and is taking her spot on the national team. Lambrechs will compete in a lowerweight class,’ reports Western Journalism.”
Olympic Weightlifting New Zealand President Garry Marshall has also weighed in on the matter.
“She competed for a long time as a man and her efforts were very strong. That strength has remained with her despite reduced testosterone,” he said. “That point is not recognized by the science and some of our competitors would say that’s not fair.”
Hubbard came in first in the Australian International competition in Melbourne, according to the Washington Times, with beating the second place finished by 20 kg (roughly 45 lbs.).
Kaitlyn Fassina, who finished in third place, did not seem happy about the new female competitor.
“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,” Fassina said at the time.
The Australian Weightlifting Federation chief executive, Michael Keelan, has argued that since Hubbard was considered a man in all respects, she will have both physical and psychological advantages over the other women.
“’If you’ve been a male and you’ve lifted certain weights and then you suddenly transition to a female, then psychologically you know you’ve lifted those weights before,’ Keelan told the Australian Associated Press.
‘I personally don’t think it’s a level playing field. That’s my personal view and I think it’s shared by a lot of people in the sporting world,’ he added.”
Last year, the International Olympics Committee decided that transgender athletes could compete as their chosen gender even if they have not undergone gender-transition surgery.
The committee said a transgender athlete must maintain testosterone levels below 10 nmol/L (nanomole/liter) for 12 months prior to the competition. If at any time the athlete’s levels are above this limit, they are suspended for 12 months.
Hubbard has not had any official interviews since qualifying, but many have already expressed their unhappiness of the new woman competing in a competition that is now severely imbalanced now.