Commonwealth Games: Transgender Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard Withdraws After Suffering Injury

New Zealand’s transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has withdrawn from competition in the women’s +90kg weightlifting final after pulling up with injury.

Hubbard twisted her elbow while attempting a Commonwealth record snatch lift of 132 kg, but dropped the bar behind her in clear pain.

She withdrew from the clean and snatch, in an event she was overwhelming favourite to win.

“It’s obviously a difficult time, but the one thing I’m happiest about is that I tried to reach for my best performance. This happens sometimes. That’s sport,” she said.

Samoa’s competitor Feagaiga Stowers won the +90kg gold in Hubbard’s absence.

No regrets for Hubbard

Hubbard said she did not regret going for the higher weight, despite the fact she already had the biggest lift in the snatch after just one attempt.

“We can always go back and rerun these things in our heads, but the truth is, unless we try to be the best person, the best athlete we can be, then really we’re not being true to sport. I’m happy with the decisions I made to take those weights.”

New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard clutches her arm.

Hubbard said she didn’t know the extent of the injury in her elbow yet.

“It seems likely I have ruptured a ligament. Until they do a scan we won’t know the details,” she said.

“The one saving grace in all of this is I’m not in any great pain at the moment. I’m sure that will come with time.”

Her appearance at the Commonwealth Games was controversial, with Samoa’s weightlifting coach decrying the fact she was competing.

“A man is a man and a woman is a woman and I know a lot of changes have gone through, but in the past Laurel Hubbard used to be a male champion weightlifter,” head coach Jerry Wallwork said.

Hubbard left her arrival at the Commonwealth Games to the last minute, arriving after the rest of New Zealand’s weightlifting team in order to keep a low profile, refusing any media interviews.

Crowd ‘absolutely fantastic’: Hubbard

She said the Gold Coast crowd had been nothing but supportive.

“It would be untrue to say the thought [of a bad reception from the crowd] never crossed my mind.

“No indication of that at all today. They were absolutely fantastic. It’s a credit to the Australian people and the broader sporting community.”

Australian competitor Deb Lovely-Acason looked slightly wobbly on her legs while in the early competition for first place, nearly walking over the line when lifting 125 kg in the clean and jerk.

She managed to stay just inside the line as she steadied, prompting a huge cheer from the Gold Coast crowd,.

But things got somewhat more eventful on her final lift, looking to go 2kg deeper into first place with a lift of 127kg.

Australia's Kaity Fassina successfully completes her second clean and jerk

It proved to be too much weight as Lovely-Acason stumbled, nearly throwing the weight down on the referee in front of her at the front of stage.

Lovely-Acason would finish in fourth, just outside the medal places.

There was more joy for compatriot Kaiti Fassina, who clinched silver in the women’s 90kg division with a clean run of lifts in the clean and jerk stage.

Her snatch lift of 104 kg and clean-and-jerk of 128kg put her in direct reckoning for gold, only for Fiji’s Eileen Cikamatana to save up her energy for a big clean-and-jerk of 130kg to pip Fassina to gold by a solitary kilogram.

Source