GOLD COAST (AFP) – Commonwealth Games organisers assured transgender New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard of their full support yesterday as she prepares to compete at Gold Coast.
Hubbard, who will take part in the women’s +90kg category, has attracted criticism from Australian weightlifting chief Mike Keelan, who believes she has an unfair advantage.
But Games chief executive David Grevemberg said: “It’s very, very clear that Laurel is eligible to compete as a woman in accordance with the existing rules and we respect that right for her to compete.”
He added: “We’re fully supportive of athletes who are eligible to compete and this is an athlete who has competed in other International Weightlifting Federation competitions and we look forward to the success of all athletes competing.”
Reports from New Zealand said Hubbard, 40, had delayed her arrival at the Games in Australia, where she is likely to find herself in the media spotlight.
Hubbard, previously known as Gavin, transitioned to female in her 30s, after competing at national level as a man.
She became eligible to compete as a woman after showing testosterone levels below the threshold required by the International Olympic Committee.
Hubbard won two silvers in the women’s +90kg category at last year’s world championships in Anaheim, becoming New Zealand’s first medallist at the competition.
“Every athlete has to develop a certain amount of toughness because when you are competing at this level, you can’t let the distractions distract you,” she was quoted as saying last year.
“I don’t think I am any different from anyone else, I don’t think I am any tougher – I just do what I have to do. You would have to be a robot to not be affected by what people were saying, but I can’t control what other people think.”
The 2018 Commonwealth Games is an international multi-sport event for members of the Commonwealth that will be held on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, between 4 and 15 April 2018.
It will be the fifth time Australia has hosted the Commonwealth Games.