Australian lifter backs trans Games rival | Ralph Lauren

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Australian weightlifter Charisma Amoe-Tarrant won’t be crying foul when she competes against the first transgender Olympian at next month’s Games.

Instead she’s thrown her support behind New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard in a gesture she says is befitting of the delayed Games.

The 43-year-old Hubbard has recovered from a serious arm injury at the Commonwealth Games to qualify after claiming silver at the 2017 women’s world championships.

But she will enter the women’s super heavyweight +87kg category ranked 15th with a combined personal best lift 55kg short of the word record.

Hubbard was a keen junior weightlifter before quitting the sport 20 years ago, only rediscovering it in 2013 when she publicly identified as a woman.

Having satisfied strict eligibility criteria that includes a testosterone reading below a specified level, Hubbard will finally enter the Olympic arena after competing elsewhere for years.

“I have so much respect for her and wish her and the other lifters the best and hope we can all come together and enjoy the Olympics,” the 22-year-old Amoe-Tarrant said ahead of her first Games.

“Because this Olympics right now is quite different compared to others.

“I’ve competed with her previously and always had good chats with her, I just wish her well.”

The Australian Weightlifting Federation has softened its stance on the issue over a period of administrative change that included Ian Moir’s appointment as chief executive in 2018 while Australia’s Deputy Chef de Mission Susie O’Neill applauded Amoe-Tarrant’s perspective.

“Athletes are used to following rules and Laurel has passed the rules the IOC has set to compete at the Olympic Games,” O’Neill said.

“I love that she said it’s a different Olympics, about all getting together and competing as one, so I think that’s a good message when it comes to Laurel.”

One of five weightlifting debutants in Australia’s biggest team since Sydney 2000, Amoe-Tarrant admitted she had seriously contemplated giving up when COVID-19 shut down the qualification process with just one tournament left to complete.

She won silver for Nauru at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, but has lived in Brisbane since she was 13.

“My coach called me and usually when she calls me I’m in trouble for something,” Amoe-Tarrant recalled of her selection.

“It was like ‘oh no, what did I do now?’. There was panic until she told me I made the team.

“I nearly gave up at one point because I didn’t think I’d make the team but here I am, so I’m very happy, nervous and a bit emotional.

“I have my ups and downs but had so many good people around me supporting me. I can be hard to coach so I always feel sorry for my coach and grandfather but they stuck to me the whole way.”

Erika Yamasaki (59kg) is the only Australian woman to clean and jerk her own bodyweight and has a Japanese father while Brandon Wakeling (73kg) will become Australia’s second Indigenous Olympic lifter.


* Erika Yamasaki (59kg), Kiana Elliott (64kg), Charisma Amoe-Tarrant (+87kg), Brandon Wakeling (73kg) and Matthew Lydement (+109kg)


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