Australian Weightlifters win at the Pacific Games

Erika's 82kg snatch at 53kg
Erika’s 82kg snatch at 53kg

This week I have been in the role of head coach for the Australian Team at the Pacific Games and Oceania Championships.

Our full 15 strong team had an interesting mix of experienced international competitors and new / first timers.

48k        Mary Barter                     QLD
53k        Erika Ropati-Frost           QLD
58k        Tia-Clair Toomey             QLD
63k        Kiana Elliott                     NSW
63k        Philippa Malone              NSW
75k        Camilla Fogagnolo          TAS
75+k      Belinda van Tienen         VIC

69k        Matthew Munns             WA
77k        Francois Etoundi             VIC
77k        Mitch Delbridge              QLD
85k        Malek Chamoun              NSW
85k        Liam Larkins                    VIC
94k        Ben Shaw                         QLD
105k     Zac Grgurevic                  VIC
105+k   Philip  Wood                    VIC

It was a very successful campaign with Australia winning the team trophies in both the mens and womens events. I put this down to consistency with all team members getting a total and most winning medals. Overall the Australian Womens team won 4 gold, 9 silver and 4 bronze medals. Our men’s team won 2 gold, 7 silver, 3 bronze.

In the Pacific Games medals were awarded for snatch and clean and jerk, as well as total. This made for some interesting coaching tactics – especially with every bodyweight category being closely contested and numerous competitors taking similar weights for the win. It often came down to the calling order, who had attempts or changes left or who could make the smartest choice of weights.

When working with a team one of the highlights is still the performance of my own personal athletes. Erika Ropati Frost’s performance was superb. She snatched a new Australian record of 82kg in the 53kg category for a gold against local favorite Dika Toua. Dika was stronger in the CJ though, so Erika had to settle for silver there.

Many of the other athletes on the team put in impressive efforts and in many cases came out on top in battles for medals. I particularly enjoyed the performances of our Cougars Weightlifting Club members – Mary Barter, Tia-Clair Toomey and Mitch Delbridge as well as those of interstate lifters Pip Malone, Malek Chamoun and Zac Grgurevic and Phil Wood – they are a credit to their personal coaches.
The full results are here

Team Captains Erika Ropati Frost and Malek Chamoun collect the team trophies on behalf of the Australian Weightlifting Team
Team Captains Erika Ropati Frost and Malek Chamoun collect the team trophies on behalf of the Australian Weightlifting Team

Return to the States

Mel snatch
Mel Robinson returns to competition after hip surgery


The weekend of 20th June was a huge weekend for the Cougars Weightlifting Club, hosting the Queensland Championships. There were many close battles, many medals, PBs and great performances.


From an Angie’s Squad point of view the number of lifters was quite small because the Youths lifted the previous weekend at their Nationals, so sat this one out.


Erika Ropati Frost is off to the Pacific Games next week, so for this event did not make weight or max out. She put in a comfortable 6/6 performance with 77 snatch, 100 clean and jerk. Despite lifting well within her limits she won the best lifter trophy with 264 sinclair points.


From a coaching perspective I was also pleased about the return to competition of 5 athletes who had been away for some months.

Many times Australian rep Michelle Kahi lifted in the 75s, taking the gold medal with an easy 72 snatch, 90 clean and jerk. Definitely a platform lifter, definitely capable of more!

Mel Robinson and Liana Lambert (both former Aus reps) showed strong progression on their returns to competition.

Billy Freer and Pito Levi both put in their first comp performance this year with Billy taking home a bronze medal in the 94s.


But one of the best things about all of this is the buzz, the momentum, the motivation, the excitement, the looking forward to the next one……..the potential