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Olympic Weightlifter ​Laurel Hubbard Named Sportswoman Of The Year

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Olympic Weightlifter ​Laurel Hubbard Named Sportswoman Of The Year

Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has been named Sportswoman of the Year by the University of Otago in New Zealand.

Hubbard, 43, made history earlier this year when she became the first transgender athlete to compete in an individual event at the Tokyo Games.

She was unable to make a successful snatch and was subsequently knocked out of the competition.

However, her achievements have now been recognised by the university, based in Dunedin, Otago, which awarded her the Sportswoman of the Year accolade at the Blues Awards earlier this week.

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In a statement made to the Otago Daily Times after receiving the award, Hubbard said she was 'grateful for all of the support and kindness received from the teaching staff and students at Otago University'.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

She added: ''It is not possible for athletes to complete at the Olympic level without the encouragement and aroha of friends, family and supporters.

''This award belongs to everyone who has been part of my Olympic journey.''

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Otago University Students' Association president Michaela Waite-Harvey said the Blues Awards aim to highlight Otago students excelling in their chosen sporting field.

She said: ''We could think of no-one more worthy of sportswoman of the year than Laurel Hubbard who represented Otago and New Zealand incredibly well at this year's Tokyo Olympics.''

Having been hosted in line with New Zealand's Covid-19 Alert Level 2 restrictions, only winners were allowed to attend the awards ceremony.

Athlete Shay Veitch was also named Sportsman of the year, while Aotearoa Maori men's hockey representative Nick Parata was named Maori Sportsperson of the Year and the Otago University Tramping Club collected the Sports Club of the Year award.

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Waite-Harvey said: "It is a shame we couldn't hold a traditional Blues and Golds Event given the restrictions and timeframes around Covid.

''However, we are happy we could provide a hybrid alternative and are very much hopeful we can do the whole nine yards next year."

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Prior to the Tokyo 2020 Games, South Island-based Hubbard applauded the IOC for allowing her to make history.

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She said: "The Olympic Games are a global celebration of our hopes, our ideals and our values.

"I commend the IOC for its commitment to making sport inclusive and accessible."

Following her selection for the games, Hubbard said she was 'grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders'.

She continued: "When I broke my arm at the Commonwealth Games three years ago, I was advised that my sporting career had likely reached its end. But your support, your encouragement, and your aroha [love] carried me through the darkness.

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"The last eighteen months has shown us all that there is strength in kinship, in community, and in working together towards a common purpose. The mana [power/honour] of the silver fern comes from all of you and I will wear it with pride."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: New Zealand, SPORT, Weightlifting, News

Jess Hardiman
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