World-class lifters to test Australia's best this weekend
16 March 2017
WEIGHTLIFTING: The most impressive weightlifting field to compete in Australia since the 2006 Commonwealth Games will take part this weekend in the Australia International in Melbourne, with world-class athletes joining Olympic and Commonwealth Games medallists.
More than 250 athletes from Europe, Asia, the Pacific and Oceania have entered the three-day event at the Eleiko Weightlifting Stadium.
The record numbers will see lifters from as far afield as Scotland and Uzbekistan, join talented lifters from throughout the Pacific, New Zealand, and the cream of Australian lifting talent.
Record numbers from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Samoa, Nauru, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands will see the Pacific Islands, where weightlifting is a national sport, well represented.
More than 30 lifters have nominated from New Zealand, while there will also be athletes from Malaysia and Pakistan in action.
Many of the international lifters will be coming to Melbourne to gain valuable experience ahead of next year’s Commonwealth Games, while valuable points will also be on the line for Australian lifters hoping to gain selection for Gold Coast 2018.
Among the Australian’s competing will be Rio Olympians, Tia-Clair Toomey and Simplice Ribouem, and Commonwealth Games medallists Seen Lee, Francois Etoundi, Erika Ropati-Frost.
Also competing will be promising 19-year-old Kiana Elliott, a bronze medallist at the most recent Junior World Championships and a strong prospect for next year’s Commonwealth Games.
“My preparation for this weekend hasn’t been the best, but it’s early days,” Elliott said.
“I’ve found it hard to balance things in recent times. But I’m feeling pretty good about where I am.
“Last year was awesome, I had a really good beginning of the year. And I’ve got a fair bit of time ahead of the Commonwealth Games to get myself into a good place.”
Elliott has been one of the brightest lights on the Australian weightlifting horizon ever since she moved across from gymnastics as a 16-year old at the end of 2013.
She only just missed out on a spot on the Glasgow Commonwealth Games team, despite her inexperience, but by the end of 2014 her weights were impressive.
But she knows the job is only half done.
“I’ve got a lot of work to do to get where I want to be before the Games come around,” she said this week.
“I like to push myself as much as I can. The goal of any weightlifter is to try and figure out their limits. It’s certainly got a bit harder, it’s a tougher game and more of a challenge to find out how to improve and keep it going.
“I really appreciate how all these lifters have kept it going for so long, I definitely want to put as much as I can into it to get as far as I possibly can.”
The Australia International begins on Friday and runs through until Sunday.
Australian Weightlifting Federation