Commonwealth Games: Australian CEO wants NZ's transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard banned

Australia's Weightlifting Federation CEO doesn't want the Kiwi competing in the Commonwealth Games.
Australia's Weightlifting Federation CEO doesn't want the Kiwi competing in the Commonwealth Games. Photo credit: AAP

Australia's Weightlifting Federation CEO Michael Keelan wants New Zealand transgender lifter Laurel Hubbard banned from competing at the upcoming Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Keelan has gone to the Olympic Committee (IOC), the Commonwealth Games Federation and the Australian Olympic Committee to convince them to change the rules so Hubbard can't participate.

Keelan believes that Hubbard has an unfair advantage over her competitors.  

Hubbard was one of 12 weightlifters to be selected for New Zealand's Commonwealth Games team in November.

"Ultimately, it is our strong view that weightlifting has always been a gender-specific sport, male and female, not a competition among individuals of various levels of testosterone," Keelan wrote in a letter obtained by the Daily Telegraph.

"In our respectful view, the current criteria and its application has the potential to devalue women's weightlifting and discourage female-born athletes from pursuing the sport at the elite level in the future.

"The International Weightlifting Federation should clarify why the current criteria are considered appropriate, adequate and fair, otherwise an alternative to the status quo should urgently be considered."

New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Kereyn Smith has hit back at the statements suggesting Hubbard should not be allowed to compete.

"She meets all CGF, IF, NZOC and OWNZ criteria for selection and participation and is within the IOC Guidelines that have been designed to balance an individual’s right to compete while ensuring a fair field of play," she told Newshub.

"Our role is to support Laurel at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and help ensure she has the environment she needs to represent New Zealand and achieve her goals."

Hubbard won a silver medal in the 90kg plus division at the world championships in California last year, as well as an international gold medal at an event in Melbourne.

She has previously spoken out about criticism she has received from "rivals".

"Look, I've heard that and I think it's incredibly disrespectful to the other competitors," she told Newshub.

"I don't believe there is any fundamental difference between me and the other athletes, and to suggest there is slightly demeaning to them."

The Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast take place from April 4-15.