Weightlifting: Trans-gender athlete Laurel Hubbard reportedly back in NZ team

Kiwi transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard will return to international competition next month, when she contests the Arafura Games in Darwin.

Heavily favoured to win gold at last year's Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Hubbard badly injured her elbow while attempting a Games snatch record, and could not attempt a lift in the clean-and-jerk discipline.

Within days, she indicated that the ruptured elbow ligament may mean the end of her career.

But Hubbard returned to competition last September and Olympic Weightlifting NZ has named her in a five-strong contingent at the Arafura event from April 26-May 4.

"After the unfortunate injury she suffered at the Commonwealth Games, she's done a fantastic job to rehab that injury," says high performance director Simon Kent, who denied Hubbard had ever official retired.

"We were at New Zealand House and it was all very fresh at the time. The comment was that it could be the end, but there was nothing ever officially done.

"It was a case of coming back, having the surgery and seeing how the injury healed."

Hubbard, 41, born Gavin Hubbard, is the transitioned daughter of former Auckland Mayor Dick Hubbard.

After representing New Zealand as a male, she was cleared to compete as a woman in 2017, when she took a silver medal at the world championships in the 90kg-plus division.

But her status has been continually questioned by rivals, who claim Hubbard has an unfair advantage. 

"It's very clear how the current rules and regulations sit," says Kent. "Nothing's changed - it's business as usual for us."