'Nobody wanted her to win' - Laurel Hubbard's presence at women's weightlifting world champs causes divide

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NZN

The presence of Kiwi Laurel Hubbard among the female super-heavyweights at the weightlifting world championships created antagonism, a leading coach has confirmed.

Hubbard will become the first transgender New Zealander to compete at next year's Gold Coast games.
Source: 1 NEWS

Transgender athlete Hubbard won New Zealand's first ever medals at the event when she snared silver in both the snatch and overall categories in California.

Hubbard, who competed as a man until four years ago, has caused conjecture since entering women's top-flight competition.

She complies with regulations on transgender athletes laid down by the International Olympic Committee, whose guidelines are followed by the International Weightlifting Federation.

However, that hasn't stopped rivals objecting to the presence of the 39-year-old, who will start firm favourite for a gold medal at next year's Commonwealth Games.

Tim Swords, the coach of world champion Sarah Robles, says he wasn't surprised Hubbard continued her policy of not speaking to media in the wake of her twin silvers.

"She stayed away because she was embarrassed, probably," Swords told Reuters.

Robles totalled 284kg, to head off Hubbard (275kg) and Egyptian bronze medallist Shaimaa Khalaf (268kg).

Swords said Hubbard's presence wasn't welcomed by some in Anaheim.

Laurel Hubbard has been backed by NZ lifting great Tony Ebert.
Source: 1 NEWS

"There was no controversy between the lifters about her presence here, but there was between some of the coaching staffs," Swords said.

"When Sarah beat Hubbard in the snatch we were congratulated by multiple coaching staffs. Nobody wanted her to win."

Mohamed Hosnytaha, coach of third-placed Khalaf, said Hubbard's background meant the competition wasn't a level playing field.

"We didn't agree with it, with somebody who was a man for so long, who has different hormones, different feelings," he said.

Meanwhile, a second Kiwi at the championships finished 14th in the men's super heavyweight (plus-105kg) division.

David Liti, 21, produced a personal bests in both the snatch (166kg) and clean and jerk (222kg) in a promising performance ahead of April's Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

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