29 Mar 2017

Samoa to protest transgender weightlifters

1:46 pm on 29 March 2017

Samoa says it's unfair for transgender weightlifters to compete in women's divisions and plan to take their protest to the International Weightlifting Federation.

New Zealand lifter Laurel Hubbard won the over 90kg division at the Australian International event in Melbourne earlier this month.

The 39 year old lifted a combined total of 268kg, 19kg better than silver medallist Iuniarra Sipaia of Samoa.

New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard

New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard Photo: Supplied: Australian Weightlifying Federation.

The President of the Samoa Weightlifting Federation, Jerry Wallwork, said the move will discourage women from participating in the sport.

"I really don't think it's fair. I've seen it up in front, in person, and especially when you've got someone who was a champions male lifter and now competing with the women, against the women," he said.

"I think it's really unfair - I could probably almost class it as taking drugs.

"You meet the testosterone levels and you get it down to a certain level but you've still got the muscles and the bones of a man and of course you've still got the strength there - it doesn't matter how low you go.

Jerry Wallwork said the fact Hubbard denied a Samoan lifter the gold medal was irrelevant and the main issue was one of fairness.

"I've been a coach for 25-30 years and I've seen it up front and it does not look fair," he said.

"There's a big advantage there to that side and I'm prepared to take it all the way up to the International Weightlifting Federation and I will raise it with them and argue with them that something [has to change].

"Maybe set up a new division - there's nothing wrong with that, set up a new division but to go against women I still think it's unfair."

"I talked to other female athletes that were they - they're actually saying to me what's the point of training and competing, we will not be able to beat these lifters - transgenders - because they're obviously much stronger, much bigger."

Jerry Wallwork said it was important to make their voices heard but whatever the IWF Congress decides, he will accept the decision.