One of the best sounds at these Commonwealth Games was the applause accompanying weightlifter Laurel Hubbard's arrival onto the 90kg+ platform at the Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre.

One of the worst was seeing her cry out as her elbow appeared to hyperflex while attempting a Commonwealth record 132kg for her final snatch lift.

Laurel Hubbard exited the competition with what looked like a hyperflexion of her left elbow. Photos / Greg Bowker
Laurel Hubbard exited the competition with what looked like a hyperflexion of her left elbow. Photos / Greg Bowker

In a triumph for human rights and open opportunity, the 40-year-old transgender athlete strolled out to Katy Perry's Firework.

She lit the fuse by nailing 120kg with her first lift. However, the pyrotechnics fizzled when she left the stage holding her elbow in agony. Hubbard decided she was unfit to advance to the clean and jerk round.


"As far as I can tell, I have ruptured a ligament in my left elbow, but until we get an MRI or further scanning, the extent of the injury is not known.

"It's obviously a difficult time, but the one thing I'm happiest about is that I tried to reach my best performance. This [the injury] happens sometimes, but that's sport.

"We can always go back and re-run these things in our heads, but the truth is unless we try to be the best person and athlete we can be, then really we're not being true to sport. I'm happy with the decision I made to take those weights."

Initially, a tactical duel built between Hubbard and 17-year-old Samoan rival Feagaiga Stowers as they upped the ante on their opening weights.

Eventually Hubbard cleared her first attempt with what looked relative ease.

A wave to the crowd, a delighted smile and a saunter off stage encapsulated a genial Games welcome.

Stowers threw 113kg in the air, but failed to match Hubbard's 120kg with her third attempt.

The New Zealander added 7kg to her bar, failed, and then made the flawed attempt which triggered her departure.

Stowers went on to take the title.

New Zealand are yet to secure a weightlifting medal, with just 105kg+ athlete David Liti to come this evening.

"Medals are only one measure of performance," Hubbard said.

"I'm unhappy having to withdraw from the competition, but I gave it everything I had. I can sleep well knowing that.

"The Australian crowd was magnificent. They really made me try for that last lift. I regret I wasn't able to give them the result they wanted to see."

Hubbard was asked if she had been treated with respect and inclusivity at the Games, whose mantra is "humanity, equality, destiny".

"Without any doubt I can say that's exactly what they have done.

"The Commonwealth Games are a model for what sport can and should be. It's an incredible environment and an amazing atmosphere."

Hubbard was looking forward to catching up with parents Dick and Diana this evening after the scan.

Teammate Tracey Lambrechs also had support in the audience through an army of family and friends.

She was attempting to match her bronze from the 75kg+ class in Glasgow.

The 32-year-old finished fifth in the rejigged 90kg class, and retired from the sport.

"I felt like I had a good chance, and I'm a little annoyed at having lifts overturned. Personally I felt there was nothing wrong with them.

"I wanted to get out and have fun. I was borderline on retirement, but you know when you know."

Lambrechs finished 13kg adrift of the podium after a combined lift of 213kg (a 93kg snatch and 120kg clean and jerk).

Fijian Eileen Cikamatana (233kg), Australian Kaity Fassina (232kg) and Cameroon's Noumbissi Meukeugni (226kg) took gold, silver and bronze.

"I'm disappointed not to get a medal," Lambrechs said. "But you never know what might happen…"