Transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has qualified to compete at next year’s Commonwealth Games for New Zealand after winning the women’s 90kg-plus division at a national meet.

Hubbard, 39, would be the first transgender athlete from New Zealand to compete at the Commonwealth Games, held every four years among nations in the British Commonwealth. The Games will be in Australia in 2018.

Hubbard’s win is not without controversy, with some competitors upset that she had previously competed as a man under her given birth name. One competitor even dropped down a weight class to avoid competing against her.

Olympic Weightlifting New Zealand says it has followed the policy of the International Olympic Committee and the world weightlifting governing body in allowing Hubbard to compete in the women's division.

Her selection to the team still needs to be certified by the New Zealand Olympic Committee, but “a committee spokeswoman told NZ Newswire Hubbard would be considered like any athlete and would welcome her into the team if selected.”