The Samoa Weightlifting Federation (S.W.F.) is set to challenge the International Olympic Committee’s (I.O.C.) ruling to allow transgender lifters to compete against women.
This was confirmed by National Coach, Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork, yesterday.
Tuaopepe will travel to the International Weightlifting Federation (I.W.F.) General Election in Bangkok Thailand in May where he will raise the concern with high-level officials of Weightlifting.
“Yes I confirm that I will be taking this issue up strongly with the I.W.F. during the Electoral Congress in May this year,” Tuaopepe said.
“I will be protesting that it is wrong and purely unfair for all women to compete against transgender weightlifters.”
The decision follows the controversial gold medal performance by New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard in Melbourne last week.
Hubbard, who had competed as a male before, dominated the 90kgs division at the Australian International Weightlifting Competition.
The 39-year-old was able to lift close to 20kgs more than Samoa’s Iuniarra Sipaia, who had to settle for the silver medal.
“It’s discouraging for us trying to do it the hard way,” Tuaopepe said.
“We come from a small country and we’re struggling. We don’t have the resources, we don’t have the funding.
“To make things worse when you have a transgender who used to be a champion male weightlifter and now competing against the women, there is a great disadvantage.
“You get men lifting in women’s division. That’s even worse. If you ask me, why do women want to lift anymore?”
Tuaopepe said Samoa’s fight is about doing what is right.
“It’s common sense,” he said. “You cannot compete against a man. You’ve got to be an extra freak of a woman to be able to compete against men. The poor women will be left out.”
Tuaopepe suggests the I.W.F. create a third category for transgender athletes to compete in.
“ If they want to accept transgender weightlifters then create a division on their own separate from the men and women,” he said.