- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A transgender athlete’s recent domination over female competitors in an Australian weightlifting event has sparked a national debate on fairness.

Laurel Hubbard, 39, cruised to victory on Sunday at the Australian International in Melbourne, an key step in representing New Zealand at the 2017 Commonwealth Games.

Athletes say Hubbard, previously known as the male weightlifter Gavin Hubbard, is at an unfair advantage — even if the International Olympic Committee says otherwise.

“We all deserve to be on an even playing field,” competitor Deborah Acason told Australia’s 1 News Now on Sunday. “It’s difficult when you believe that you’re not. If it’s not even, why are we doing the sport?”

A Sydney station noted on Monday that Tracey Lumbrechs, who previously won a bronze medal winner at Commonwealth Games, dropped to a lower weight class to avoid the situation.

Hubbard lifted a combined total of 590.9 pounds in the women’s 198.4-pound division, besting the runner up by almost 45 pounds.

Sportswriter Phil Gifford told the Sydney station that complaints about the outcome are moot since transgender athletes are tested prior to competition.

“It’s testosterone levels [that matter], which is a much more scientific way of measuring male gender, female gender than anything else that is currently known,” Mr. Gifford said. “And Lauren has passed all of those tests over the last 12 months.”

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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