A Kiwi weightlifter has become the first transgender athlete to represent New Zealand after competing at the Australian International last Sunday.
Laurel Hubbard lifted a total of 268kg, winning the women’s over 90kg division and beating her nearest competitor by a 19kg margin.
Hubbard says she was “overwhelmed by the win” but bronze medallist—Australian Kaitlyn Fassina—implied that she should not have been competing in the category.
“She is who she is. That’s the way the politics…and what the New Zealanders have decided," Fassina said. “I can’t say much more than that. She is seen as female and that’s the way it is.”
Australian Olympian Deborah Acason added: “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?”
In an interview with TV NZ, sports writer Phil Gifford said Hubbard had every right to compete, having passed "straightforward" hormone regulations and passing "all of those tests over the last 12 months".
The news comes as USA Volleyball approved transgender athlete Tia Thompson to participate in the sport's women’s division.