Duncan Garner: Laurel Hubbard shouldn't compete in women's category

Opinion 06/03/2019

The AM Show host Duncan Garner believes transgender athlete Laurel Hubbard should not be participating in the women's section at weightlifting competitions.

Hubbard is back to training after suffering a devastating injury at the Commonwealth Games, and will return to international competition in Darwin at the Arafura Games from April 26.

Garner was initially confused about the fuss over Hubbard competing, until he realised the reason she was causing a fuss was the fact she's transgender.

Hubbard, 41, competed in the men's category before transitioning to a woman in her 30s.

"If you're born a man you can't compete in the woman's [section], I just can't see how," Garner said.

Sports presenter Mark Richardson responded to say the situation was difficult.

"That is a complicated debate that I don't think in 30 seconds or less we would be able to do justice."

But eventually he revealed his opinion was the same as Garner's, and he thinks Hubbard should not be competing in the women's category.

"I tend to be a little on your side, I believe that there would have been substantial gains made.

"If the scientists can prove that you lose all the gains, be them technical, be them everything that you were able [to do] in the early years when you were a man. [If] all those are gone by the time you become a female and you're starting on a level playing field then I have absolutely no issue with it."

Newsreader Amanda Gillies asked if that was the case, where would Hubbard compete, because she certainly can't go back to competing as a man.

Garner's solution was a category for transgender athletes.

It's not the first time Hubbard has caused controversy, as she faced criticism for competing in the Commonwealth Games, where she was well ahead of the competition before pulling out due to injury.

She alluded to the issue in post-match interviews.

"I think you have to be true to yourself," she told interviewers. "But I would be a robot if I tried to pretend I wasn't aware of some of the coverage here."

NZ Olympic committee CEO Kereyn Smith defended her place in the competition before she went to the Gold Coast for the games.

"She meets all CGF, IF, NZOC and OWNZ criteria for selection and participation and is within the IOC Guidelines that have been designed to balance an individual's right to compete while ensuring a fair field of play," she told Newshub.