Laurel Hubbard's usurping of incumbent lifter Tracey Lambrechs as New Zealand's No1 female in the 90kg-plus class suddenly also has her as a leading contender for the medal dias at next year's Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

But whether the Wanaka-based lifter is a medal prospect on the wider world stage is another story.

The way an overall total is calculated in weightlifting, and therefore placings awarded, is by combining the competitor's snatch lift with their clean and jerk performance. The clean and jerk is always the heavier of the two lifts.

Hubbard's personal best of 262kg is 22kg superior than Lambrechs', according to Olympic Weightlifting New Zealand. That immediately makes her competitive at Commonwealth Games level.


Lambrechs won bronze at the last Games in Glasgow with a combined total lift of 237kg - 43kg less than gold medallist Maryam Usman, of Nigeria, and 34kg behind silver medallist Ele Opeloge, of Samoa.

Hypothetically, had Hubbard competed in Glasgow, based on her personal best, she could've won the bronze medal taken by Lambrechs.

But at Olympic level, Hubbard has some ground to make up.

At last year's Rio Olympic Games, Lambrechs finished 13th in the top weight division, lifting a total 231kg, 6kg shy of her bronze medal effort two years earlier. The gold medal winner, Meng Suping of China, lifted 307kg. Kim Kuk-hyang was a single kilo back in silver with American Sarah Robles taking bronze with a combined best of 286kg.

Had Hubbard represented New Zealand in Rio, her personal best would have earned her 11th place.

Interestingly, Hubbard's best snatch lift of 122kg places her as the fourth best in the category based on Rio Games placings. However, her 140kg personal best in the clean and jerk lets her down.

Comparatively, Lambrechs' snatch weight is her downfall (just 98kg in Rio and 101kg in Glasgow).

If Hubbard can improve her clean and jerk performances, she will reap the benefits. The world record for the 90kg-plus weight class is 348kg, lifted by Russian Tatiana Kashirina in 2014.

However, Kashirina didn't feature in Rio due to the International Weightlifting Federation's (IWF) ban on the entire eight-person Russian weightlifting team. The decision came due to Kashirina having previously been banned in 2006 for doping while other members of the team were named in the McLaren report, which exposed government-sponsored systematic doping.

Hubbard's body weight is also of interest. Had she competed in Rio, she would have been the second heaviest lifter in the final at 129.3kg. The heaviest was bronze medallist Robles, who weighed 143.3kg. Lambrechs' Olympic weight was 106.54kg.

It is impossible to analyse Lambrechs' potential in her new under-90kg division, the class only recently established by the IWF.

Only one representative from each country is allowed to compete in the same division at international events such as the Commonwealth or Olympic Games which is why, since the emergence of Hubbard late last year, Lambrechs has quit the 90kg-plus class.

Lambrechs will have her first international competition at the weight at next weekend's Australian International Open in Melbourne, which will gauge her early progressions - or potential regression - in the lighter weight class.

But it will be Hubbard, making her international debut as a New Zealand rep at the same competition, who is likely to occupy the most attention.