NEW ZEALAND, December 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Male weightlifter Gavin Hubbard has won a medal competing against women under the name “Laurel.”
Hubbard, 39, won two women’s silver medals at the world championships of the International Weightlifting Federation in Anaheim, California this week. He became the first New Zealander to win a medal at the championships and also the first transgender to win.
Critics within the weightlifting world are crying foul.
“We’re in a power sport which is normally related to masculine tendencies… Where you’ve got that aggression…then you can lift bigger weights,” Australian Weightlifting Federation chief executive Michael Keelan told the Associated Press.
“If you’ve been a male and you’ve lifted certain weights, then you suddenly transition to a female, psychologically you know you’ve lifted those weights before,” he said.
“I personally don’t think it’s a level playing field,” Keelan added. “That’s my personal view and I think it’s shared by a lot of people in the sporting world.”
Hubbard finished second in the women’s 90kg-plus snatch, which gave him his first medal, and fourth in the women’s clean and jerk category. His combined total won the second medal.
After winning the two medals, Hubbard reportedly avoided the press and declined to answer any questions. At the award ceremony, he had to squat to receive the medal because he was so much taller than the female competitors.
International Weightlifting Federation and International Olympic Committee rules allow men to compete against women if their testosterone levels are consistently low enough.
Hubbard qualified as a woman by testing low enough in testosterone for a year before the world championships.
Hubbard also qualified to compete in the Commonwealth Games held on the Gold Coast in April.
Keelan said allowing Hubbard to compete creates an “uneven playing field” at the Commonwealth Games next year.
Another transgender, male handball competitor “Hannah” Mouncey, was banned from the AFL Women’s competition in Australia even though he passed the low-testosterone test. However, Mouncey may compete next year.
Sarah Elizabeth Robles of the United States, who took gold, beat Hubbard. Robles’ coach Tim Swords said Hubbard kept silent after his wins probably because he was “embarrassed.”
“I hope the IOC does something about it because this is really going to hurt our sport in the long run,” Coach Swords said, according to Stuff.co.nz. “I’m not comfortable with it at all.”
Swords added that many coaches were upset that a man was competing against women. When Robels won first place, Swords said he was congratulated by many relieved coaches because “nobody wanted [Hubbard] to win.”
Hubbard bested the bronze medal winner Shaimaa Khalaf of Egypt. Khalaf’s coach, Mohamed Hosnytaha, criticized Hubbard competing with women as well.
“We didn’t agree with it, with somebody who was a man for so long, who has different hormones, different feelings,” he reasoned, according to Stuff.co.nz. “It is not fair.”