News and Commentary

New Zealand: Where Men Are Men (And So Are the Women!)

A transgender woman who was born male has won a women’s weightlifting competition.


Laurel Hubbard, 39, won in just her first try.


She broke four national records.


“Kiwi weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has dominated her first major competition, taking out the Australian International in Melbourne on a night she made history as the first transgender athlete to represent New Zealand,” the New Zealand Herald reports.

Hubbard, 39, won the women’s over 90kg division at the Melbourne event, setting four unofficial national records in the process. Hubbard lifted a combined total of 268kg – 19kg better than silver medallist Iuniarra Sipaia of Samoa.

Australia’s Kaitlyn Fassina claimed the bronze medal with 223kg.

Hubbard looked visibly emotional as she lined up behind dais awaiting the official medal presentation. But she kept the tears at bay, smiling and waving as she stood atop the podium.

Earlier this month the Herald revealed Hubbard had been selected to make her international debut at the competition after usurping Rio Olympian Tracey Lambrechs at the top of the division.

Hubbard’s selection was a considered a pioneering moment in sport for the LBGT community. Further ground could yet be broken, with tonight’s performance in Melbourne expected to go a long way to securing Hubbard’s place in the team for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games next year.

Hubbard’s emergence as an international-calibre lifter last year forced Lambrechs to drop to a lower weight division, shedding 17kg in order to meet the 90kg class. Lambrechs, who won bronze at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014, admitted she was initially upset by being knocked off the top rung in the rankings by Hubbard, but she is trying to take a positive approach to her competitive future.

Making her debut in the 90kg division, Lambrechs had a promising start, taking out the silver with a combined total of 206kg.

Who ever thought a woman who was born a man could win a women’s weight-lifting competition. We live in amazing times.

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