New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has made history by becoming the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympic Games – but fell well short of a podium finish as she could not complete a lift.
Hubbard overbalanced on her opening weight of 120kg, taking the bar behind her shoulders.
Her second attempt of 125kg was ruled invalid on a majority decision by the referees.
The third try was similar to the first, ruling Hubbard out of medal contention in the women’s over-87kg division.
Image: Hubbard was competing in the over-87kg category
Hubbard’s controversial debut made her the first openly transgender athlete to compete in an individual sport in the 125-year history of the Games.
The 43-year-old is almost twice the average age of her competitors and, having shifted 285kg during qualifying, was also one of the strongest in the field.
Her participation has been as divisive an issue as whether the Games should have even gone ahead during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
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Ahead of the Games, Hubbard – ranked 15th in the world – praised organisers for allowing her to compete.
Critics have argued that her inclusion was unfair on other competitors and that Hubbard is naturally stronger.
Hubbard said ahead of her participation in Tokyo 2020: “The Olympic Games are a global celebration of our hopes, our ideals and our values.
“I commend the IOC for its commitment to making sport inclusive and accessible.”
Image: Laurel Hubbard is the first transgender weightlifter to compete at the Olympics
Hubbard transitioned in 2012 and competed in international weightlifting for the first time in 2017 – and has been the focus of both support and criticism in the build-up to her first Olympics.
She met the qualifying criteria on levels of testosterone set by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which revised its rules for trans athletes in 2016.
Before transitioning to female, Hubbard took part in male weightlifting competitions and set a junior national record in 1998, lifting 300kgs in the M105+ division.
Source : Sky News