Aussie lifters ready to raise the bar at the AYOF22 October 2012
A team of 16 of the nation’s best young weightlifters has been announced to represent Australia at the 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF).
The sixth instalment of the Festival, which takes place from 16 – 20 January in Sydney, will provide excellent exposure to many of Australia’s brightest weightlifting prospects as they build towards success at the Rio 2016 Games and beyond.
Split into two teams of eight, the Aussie contingent heads into the 2013 AYOF with 12 athletes that have competed on the international stage before and will be hoping they can utilise their experience to take on what is an extremely strong field of athletes.
The weightlifting competition will feature competitors from the world’s leading nation in the sport, China, along with athletes from Hungary, home of the IWF, New Zealand, Great Britain, Indonesia, Chinese Taipei and a combined team from Oceania.
One athlete that knows the value of the junior Olympic competitions is Victorian Liam Larkins. Now 19, Larkins competed at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games where he rose to the occasion of Olympic competition and achieved a new personal best in the 77kg class.
Having now moved up to the 85kg class he admits he is looking forward to participating in another multi-sport event at the 2013 AYOF.
“I am stoked to make the team for the AYOF,” said Larkins.
“It will definitely be a good experience. As the Youth Olympic Games helped prepare me for future international competition, these events give you confidence and help you get closer to the world stage.”
Knowing he will be facing a strong field, Larkins is pumped up to push himself to new heights.
“With strong nations coming for the event it makes me more motivated to get in the gym and work harder so you can compete against the best.”
Along with elite competition, the Australian youngsters will also have an elite coach in their corner with Miles Wydall in the corner of both Australian teams.
Wydall was Australia’s head coach at the London Olympic Games and was also an assistant at the Delhi Commonwealth Games and will now take charge of the two Aussie teams set to compete in Sydney.
“Miles is definitely regarded as one of the top coaches,” Larkins highlighted. “It is always good to have some different eyes looking at you and providing a different view on the way you lift.”
The team will also include 63kg representative Rachel Goodman who also has a close connection with Olympic competition. Her father Harvey was one of Australia’s leading weightlifters in the nineties, competing at the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and was a six-time medallist at the Commonwealth Games.
In the lead up to the AYOF, the Australian team will compete at the Trans Tasman Cup against New Zealand in Christchurch in December. The team will then head to a week-long training camp in Auckland to ensure they are primed and ready for the AYOF.
Australian weightlifting team for the 2013 AYOF:
A Team - Men
Bassel Rana - NSW - 62kg class
Matthew Munns - WA - 77kg class
Liam Larkins - VIC - 85kg class
Ryan Pasfield - NSW - 105kg class
A Team - Women
Jessica Barkham - NSW - 53kg class
Courtney Fitzharris - NSW - 58kg class
Rachel Goodman - VIC - 63kg class
Deanna Bax - QLD - 69kg - class
B Team - Men
James Norman - QLD - 62kg class
Jacob Daniels - QLD - 77kg class
Jonathan Pakchung - QLD - 85kg class
Kurt Hill - WA - 105kg class
B Team - Women
Hayley Ward - QLD - 53kg class
Sophie Cowen - TAS - 58kg class
Alexandra Martin - VIC - 58kg class
Zoe Simon - NSW - 69kg class
Australian Olympic Committee