The last quarter of the year is always hectic for weightlifting in Queensland with competitions almost every weekend. This has included The Queensland All Schools, the Mike Keelan Shield (Cougars Weightlifting Club’s end of year competition) and the Australian Open.
One of the stand out performers at these events was Saphire Abraham. The talented 14 year old, who is only in her first 6 months of lifting, set Australian under 15 records in the snatch, CJ and total at the All Schools Championships, then broke them all again at the Mike Keelan Shield.
Fellow squad member and 75+kg lifter Mackenzie Coglan-Rochfort applied some pressure to Saphire with a few PBs and National Record attempts along the way, but Saphire came out ahead in the end.
The Australian Open saw Michelle Kahi lift lifetime personal bests of 82 snatch, 103 CJ and a 185 total in the 75 category. I was particularly pleased to see this result for Michelle as she has been lifting for over 10 years, but evidently still has more to come.
New competitor Andrew Kelly took bronze and came close to silver in the 105s at just his third competition. Experienced lifter Melissa Robinson took gold in the 63s.
In November I was in the role of head coach for the Australian Team at the World Championships in Houston, Texas. There were several good things about this team including some new talented athletes and the high number of successful and personal best lifts from Australian athletes.
The team came from around Australia :
Erika Ropati-Frost QLD – 53
Tia Clair Toomey QLD – 58
Jessica Lai – WA – 63
Pip Malone – NSW – 63
Kiana Elliott – NSW – 69
Camilla Fogagnolo – TAS – 75
Jenna Myers – TAS – 75+
Officials : Angela Wydall, Miles Wydall, Lyn Jones (Team Manager)
The performance closest to my heart was that of Erika Ropati-Frost since I coach her on a day to day basis at Cougars Weightlifting Club. Erika snatched 3/3 and an Australian record of 83kg. On the CJ she finished on 98, after missing the jerk on 102 twice. This was a surprising result as her training leading into World Champs indicated her CJ was going better than her snatch. Erika’s performance at the worlds still placed her in the lead for Olympic selection for Rio.
I also appreciated the performance of Jessica Lai. Jessica was previously one of my own squad athletes at Cougars Weightlifting Club who moved to Perth about a year ago. Since then Brendan Kennedy of Grizzly’s Weightlifting Club had been doing a good job coaching her. Jess snatched 86 and CJd 98 – weights she had only previously lifted in competition as a 69.
The performance of Tia-Clair Toomey also deserves mention. Tia is normally coached by my husband Miles Wydall. Tia is still fairly new to weightlifting and surprised a few people with her strength in Houston when she came close with 85 snatch and 112 clean and jerk. Definitely one of Australian Weightlifting’s greatest hopes for the future.