Tokyo Olympics: Kiwi transgender athlete Laurel Hubbard crashes out of Games weightlifting

Kiwi weightlifter Laurel Hubbard - the first openly transgender Olympian - has crashed out early of the +87kg division at the Tokyo Games.

The world's most scrutinised athlete took the stage with history beckoning, but has duplicated her performance at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, where she suffered a career-threatening elbow injury and withdrew without a medal.

This time, Hubbard missed her first snatch attempt at 120kg, then elected to move to 125kg to keep pace with her competition. 

She actually hoisted her first lift above her head, but was red-lighted on technicalities and then could not repeat the effort on her last attempt.

Hubbbard was diplomatic about the judges' decision to rule her lift out.

"Weightlifting does have rules, like any sport, and if I've contravened those rules, it must have been a no lift," she told Sky Sport.

Success at 125kg would have seen Hubbard poised in third equal entering the clean and jerk phase, but three failures meant she could not continue in the competition.

"If anything, I was overwhelmed by the excitement of being on the Olympic platform," she reflected. "It's such a special place for any athlete - it generates a certain amount of adrenalin and I overcooked it slightly tonight.

"I'm not sure it's possible for any person to block out everything happening in the world. You just do what you can and get on with it."

Hubbard was non-committal about her future in the sport, but grateful she was able to return from her Gold Coast disaster.

"The injury I had in 2018 was so dramatic, I never thought I would compete again," she said. "Everything thing that has happened since then has been a bonus." 

Meanwhile, world champion and recordholder Li Wenwen of China made light work of her opposition through the early stages, entering at 130kg - two kilograms heavier that anyone else managed with their three attempts - and eventually lifting 140kg, eight kilograms off her own world mark.

Li took that dominance into clean and jerk, where she entered at 162kg - one kilogram more than the next best lift - and succeeded with 180kg. Her performances were all Olympic records in the new weight category. 

Hubbard's personal bests would have seen her finish second.