The Junior and & Under 23 Victorian team that will be competing at Nationals has just been announced. The full team details are linked below and can find more info on all the VWA social media platforms.
Among the team we have some amazing talent, including Nahir Malki, Gentiana Muriqi, Tony Sok, Brandon Accardi and Phoenix Goodwin. All these athletes have been ranked within the top three of their respective age and weight categories on the preliminary start list that the AWF released a couple weeks back. Of course, the preliminary start list isn’t final but it can give us a good indication of how the athletes are going to go and who their biggest competition will be.
The youngest in the field is 14-year-old Phoenix Goodwin. Phoenix is coming off an incredible performance at Victoria’s age group champs where she won best overall lifter in the under 15, under 17 and under 20 age groups with a total of 107kg breaking the Australian under 15 clean & jerk and total records along with the Australian under 17 snatch record.
Phoenix is ranked second going into in the Under 20 division with a great chance to hold that position after the competition is done and dusted. Knowing that this is her first trip to Nationals, Phoenix is trying to keep a cool head and not concern herself too much with what her rivals are doing. “I don’t want to get too worked up for the day so I’m just going to try worry about my own weights and see what I can get,” she tells The Weightlifting Platform.
Sitting in first place after the preliminary start list was released, Gentiana Muriqi from LG Barbell is gearing up for her first Nationals event. But with Madeleine Whatman of Queensland only sitting 9kg below her on entry total, Gentiana is going to have a fight on her hands.
“Nationals will be my third ever weightlifting competition, and I feel very fortunate to have qualified for it,” says Gentiana. Because of this, she is not allowing the stress to take over and just trying to enjoy the sport she loves. She plans to let her team of coaches take care of all the strategizing so she can just lift the weights and hit 6/6.
Coming out of the same club, Brandon Accardi is without doubt an amazing lifter to watch on the platform. Sitting 8kg below first place — Lawson Dingle from Queensland — Brandon has his work cut out for him. But Brandon can pull out the big lifts when it counts, so he knows he can close that gap. This will be one of the battles to watch come August!
The battle in the male Under 23 67kg class promises to be a classic Victoria vs NSW vs Queensland three-way rumble, with Tony Sok from In2 Performance representing Victoria. The three lifters entry totals are only 13kg apart: Jett Gaffney (Qld) 210kg, Rick Saha (NSW) 200kg and Tony, who’s just 3kg away with a 197kg entry total.
Tony will have to beat out the experienced Jett Gaffney — a youth Olympian who competed in multiple international competitions for Australia — to be able to bring home gold. Tony has been on a steady rise this past year and we are looking forward to him taking the platform to battle for a spot on the podium.
The man with the biggest total of them all is Nahir Malki. In the 109+ body weight division with an enormous entry total of 309kg, Nahir is set for a podium finish. He has been competing since 2014 and will be one of the oldest in his division.
“Jackson Robert-Young is going to be competing in the super heavyweight division, so that’s going to fire me up,” says Nahir. His attitude of “going into it super aggressive” like he always does will likely pay off. “If I have to make a 10kg jump on my PB, I’ll go for it,” he says. Make sure you are watching Nahir and the super heavies. It’s a fight you won’t want to miss.
Stay tuned for more exciting content from The Weightlifting Platform coming your way leading into the Junior and Under 23 Australian Nationals.