Loau Solamalemalo Keneti Sio, 2019 Samoa Chairman, has called out Laurel Hubbard’s involvement in the Commonwealth Games as a transgender woman competing in the Women’s over-87kg category as unfair.
Hubbard from New Zealand, won the Gold medal with a lift of 268kg, ahead of two Samoan lifters. Hubbard is eligible to compete having passed the International Olympic Committee's criteria for transgender athletes, which involves testosterone levels being kept below a certain level 12 months prior to the competition.
Loau said the decision to allow Hubbard to compete was ‘unfair’ and the overall reaction had been ‘understandable’. It was reported that local crowds cheered when Hubbard failed at a final clean and jerk lift. The Samoan chairman however said he understood the rules, "The IOC and IWF do not discriminate against transgender athletes and while this may be hard to accept, we must learn to adapt to these rules because it will not change for anyone."
Hubbard, who became the first New Zealand athlete to win a medal at the Weightlifting World Championships in 2017, is now looking ahead to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
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