History was made for New Zealand when 39-year-old transgender weightlifter known as Laurel Hubbard won the 90kg division at the Australian International competition in Melbourne on Sunday.
The Kiwi weightlifter was the first trans athlete to represent New Zealand and emerge as a winner. Other competitors were not comfortable with the victory as they criticized the winner.
The victory has caused a controversy with some believing she had an unfair advantage. The athlete was lifting a combined total of 268kg which was nearly 20kg better than Samoan runner-up Iuniarra Sipaia, with another 20kg back to the next lifter in the field.
The victory puts Hubbard in line for selection at the 2017 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
Despite her victory which passed the International Olympic Committee's criteria, Hubbard's win was met with criticism. The Australian competitors believe that a transgender athlete in the female weightlifting category was not an equal playing field.
Born the son of former Auckland mayor Dick Hubbard, Laurel previously competed at a national level in men's weightlifting as Gavin Hubbard.
Hubbard transitioned in her mid-30s. She recently improved to a lofty women's ranking. Her success in the sport forced Rio Olympic lifter Tracey Lambrechs, a Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, to lose weight and compete in a lower division.
Tracey Lambrechs has expressed herself saying that she is uncomfortable at Hubbard's eligibility but has vowed to continue her career in the 90kg class.
Lambrechs came second in Melbourne.
One of the lifters also told New Zealand TV news station 1News Now that Hubbard's entry into the female category was unfair to other competitors who were female, saying that all competitors ought to be on an even playing field.
The prominent sportswriter Phil Gifford said Hubbard had every right to compete with the women after passing the straightforward hormone regulations.
Gifford said that testosterone levels are a much more scientific way of measuring male gender, female gender than anything else that is currently known.
Gifford also said that Lauren has passed all of those tests over the last one year.
The Olympic Weightlifting New Zealand responded to the allegations from other competitors. It said that it complied with the policy of the International Olympic Committee and the world weightlifting governing body.
The Olympic Weightlifting New Zealand justified its decision to allow Hubbard to compete in the women's division.
The International Olympic Committee does not categorize athletes as transgender. They are either male or female.