Transgender New Zealand weightlifter withdraws from Commonwealth Games after painful injury

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Kiwi transgender weightlifting star Laurel Hubbard’s Commonwealth Games gold medal campaign was dramatically ruined when she suffered a "gruesome" competition injury.

The 40-year-old runner-up at last year’s world championships blew the competition away in the first discipline of the women’s over-90kg weightlifting.

She responded to a warm reception from the crowd inside the Carrara Sports Arena on Monday afternoon by performing a 120kg snatch lift in her first attempt to put the competition on notice.

None of the other lifters, including Australia's Deb Loveley-Acason, got anywhere near Hubbard’s mark.

Hubbard then failed to lift 127kg on her second attempt.

The competition was then turned on its head during Hubbard’s third lift when she again failed to lift the 132kg bar and then winced in pain as she was forced to drop it while in the act of lifting it over her head.

Hubbard then grabbed her elbow and appeared in considerable pain as she walked off the stage.

Commentators spotted her elbow appearing to dislocate under the strain of the bar.

She officially withdrew from the competition after consulting New Zealand’s medical staff, despite leading the event heading into the clean and jerk section.

"Oh wow. That to me looked like the elbow came out and went back in," a Channel 7 commentator said.

"She knows she’s in trouble."

A Kiwi TV commentator described the moment as a "dramatic twist" after Hubbard had appeared well on her way to the gold medal.

Laurel Hubbard previously competed under the name Gavin Hubbard before transitioning into a woman.

Laurel Hubbard previously competed under the name Gavin Hubbard before transitioning into a woman. (REUTERS/Paul Childs)

Commentators were shocked by the injury with Kiwi sporting identities pushing for Hubbard to carry the Kiwi flag into the closing ceremony earlier in the week.

Hubbard's inclusion in the competition turned the women’s over-90kg category into one of the most discussed events in the lead up to the Gold Coast Games.

Games officials had repeatedly declared their support for Hubbard’s inclusion in the event, despite the 40-year-old having previously competed internationally on the men’s weightlifting circuit under the name Gavin Hubbard.

Hubbard reportedly made her transition to become a woman at the age of 35 and she has satisfied every criteria under Commonwealth Games rules to qualify for the women’s over-90kg lifting event.

However, she was the target of widespread protests and uproar from rival weightlifting federations, which included formal requests for her to be banned from the Commonwealth Games.

Australian Weightlifting Federation chief executive Michael Keelan last month called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Commonwealth Games Federation to rewrite the rule book that has allowed Hubbard to compete on the Gold Coast.

Samoan weightlifting head coach Jerry Wallwork was also vocal in his declaration that Hubbard had an unfair advantage over the competition.

"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," he said.

"The strength is still there and I think it's very unfair, and for all females it’s unfair.

"The situation may have been accepted by the IOC, but that won't stop us from protesting, regardless of whether it's against one of our lifters or not.

"It's just very unfair."

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