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2 Mar, 2020 16:32

Transgender New Zealand weightlifter suffers setback in Tokyo Games bid

Transgender New Zealand weightlifter suffers setback in Tokyo Games bid

New Zealand transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard – bidding to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games – failed to earn a berth at the latest competition in Australia, leaving the chances of securing a spot hanging by a thread.

The 42-year-old Hubbard previously competed as Gavin in men’s weightlifting competitions before transitioning from a male gender seven years ago.

READ MORE: Classification, not demonization, is the answer to sport's great transgender debate

Hubbard, who is aiming to qualify for the women’s 87kg+ (190lbs) category at the 2020 Games in Tokyo, recently participated in the Australian Open qualifiers in Canberra, breaking the Oceania record before being eliminated from the competition.

The New Zealand athlete set a new continental record in the snatch lifting 133kg, but then fell short after being disqualified for not fully extending her elbows during the first two attempts in the clean-and-jerk, before failing to lift 151kg on the third and final attempt.

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Despite the dismal performance in Canberra, Hubbard will still have a chance to qualify for the Tokyo Games at the Oceania Championships in Nauru in April.

Hubbard’s Olympic campaign has met with mixed reaction, with many insisting that the athlete has an unfair advantage over female-born competitors and should not compete in women’s events.

"This is insane. Women's rights to basic fairness & equality are getting destroyed at the altar of political correctness," British media personality Piers Morgan posted on Twitter.

Trans women born with biological male bodies have a massive physical advantage against women born with female bodies in any sport where power & strength are significant factors. This shouldn’t be a contentious claim, it’s just a rather obvious fact.”

Irish MMA fighter Peter Queally recently tweeted: “Imagine if your daughter sacrificed her whole youth to get to the Olympics to win a gold medal and then this guy grows his hair long, says he’s a woman, and shows up and mops the floor with her.

Male-to-female transgender athletes have been allowed to take part in the Olympics since 2016 if their testosterone levels remain low enough for a year in accordance with the IOC guidelines.