Transgender weightlifter ‘puts sporting fairness at risk’

Allowing men who identify as women to compete in female weightlifting competitions “runs contrary to the very notion of sporting fairness”, a senior sportswriter has said.

Oliver Brown, Chief Sports Feature Writer at The Daily Telegraph, spoke out after a 40-year-old man took part in the women’s +90kg division in the Commonwealth Games.

Laurel Hubbard previously competed in men’s weightlifting, but has since transitioned to live as a woman and switched to competing in women’s competitions for New Zealand.

‘Sporting fairness’

But Brown was critical of this being allowed to happen.

He asked whether “the rights of an individual, especially in a sport as determined by strength as Hubbard’s” should “override the rights of women who stand no chance of gold”.

“Such an outcome runs contrary to the very notion of sporting fairness”, he added.

‘Very unfair’

Last month, Australian Weightlifting Federation Chief Executive Michael Keelan spoke out against the New Zealander’s inclusion.

Keelan argued that weightlifting has “always been a gender-specific sport”.

And Samoa’s head coach, Jerry Wallwork, said: “A man is a man and a woman is a woman, and I know a lot of changes have gone through, but in the past Laurel Hubbard used to be a male champion weightlifter.”

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

First ever

Hubbard was expected to win gold in the competition but an injury meant he was unable to finish.

The New Zealander would have been the first ever transgender gold medallist in the history of both the Olympics and Commonwealth Games.

The closing ceremony of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games takes place this Sunday.

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