Trans weightlifter Laurel Hubbard’s eligibility to compete in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games has been confirmed.

Hubbard last year qualified to compete, and is set to be the first trans athlete to represent New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games.

She had previously been the first trans weightlifter to represent New Zealand in the Australian International.

The head of the Australian Weightlifting Federation, Mike Keelan, had challenged Hubbard’s eligibility to compete, arguing that her trans status represented an unfair competitive advantage and calling for her to be banned.

The Australian Weightlifting Federation has criticised Hubbard before, suggesting she should not be allowed to compete in the women’s division.

Commonwealth Games officials this week dismissed Keelan’s complaint, The Australian has reported.

The Commonwealth Games Federation said in a statement that the International Weightlifting Federation “has established sport-specific eligibility criteria to be applied for Gold Coast 2018 which allows both male and female athletes that have qualified to compete”.

It rejected the call to stop Hubbard from competing, saying Hubbard meets the criteria for competition and that her trans status is irrelevant.

“The gender eligibility criteria currently applied by the IWF does not constructively discriminate against transgender athletes and as a consequence there is no moral, ethical or legal basis to prevent transgender athletes from pursuing their sporting ambitions and competing in IWF-sanctioned events,” the statement said.

Both cis and trans women competitors must meet criteria relating to hormone levels.

“Laurel has met all the requirements they’ve asked which includes a monthly testosterone test, and her testosterone levels are lower than a [cis] female,” said Olympic Weightlifting New Zealand president Garry Marshall.

The Commonwealth Games will begin on Wednesday April 4 at the Gold Coast.

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