A couple weeks ago, the Australian team was announced via the AWF news pages.
Brandon Wakeling, Qld, 73kg
Erika Yamasaki, Qld, 59kg
Kiana Elliott, SA, 64kg
Sarah Cochrane, Qld, 64kg
Charisma Amoe-Tarrant, Qld, +87kg
This September there will be a great range of talent competing at the IWF Senior World Championships in Thailand — from experienced lifters to impressive young guns.
Kiana Elliott is, at the moment, one of the biggest names in Australian weightlifting. This 22-year-old out of South Australia has represented Australia a total of 13 times in competition, ranging from Youth Olympics to, most recently, the Pacific Games winning gold and reaching the official “elite” category for the second time in her career.
Kiana isn’t too concerned about the placing at Worlds this year. Because she’s still trying to qualify for Tokyo, placing “has taken a bit of a back seat”.
“Securing Robi points [which is what ranks lifters leading in the Olympics] is the number one priority at the moment. My expectations are always just do my best with what I have on the day.”
Kiana has been steadily moving up the ranks over the past few years. “Since my first junior Worlds and putting the work in I’ve come to a position where I sort of feel like I belong there a little bit more.” This is such a great place for an athlete to be in.
Erika Yamasaki has been climbing back up that ranks after taking seventh months off competing from the end of 2017 until mid 2018. Having competed at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and two World Champs, Erika knows how to compete and will put up a good showing this year. Taking home Gold in Samoa last month Erika is looking in great shape to put up some great numbers in the 59kg category.
The most inexperienced member of the team is the ex-CrossFit athlete out of CrossFit Townsville, Sarah Cochrane. At 30 years old, this will be her first World Champs. And she only entered her first weightlifting competition ever in January 2018! She has competed in a couple of minor international competitions since then.
Sarah Cochrane hit the A-group total needed to qualify for Worlds in April, so she’s been able to settle in and train hard without too much stress the past few months. “It wasn’t until the last month that I realised how significant it is.” Sarah told TWP. “I am very excited to be apart of such a big event.
The youngest of the bunch, Charisma Amoe-Tarrant, at just 20 years old, has already won a silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games for Nauru before switching alliances to represent Australia. She recently represented Australia in the Pacific Games over in Samoa and took away two silvers and a bronze. This rising star has many more World Champs ahead of her and will do big things in Australian weightlifting in the coming years.
The only male to hit that incredibly demanding A-group standard this year was Brandon Wakeling. Brandon has a tight grip on the number one spot in the country with a 373.735 sinclair score. Brandon secured his spot on the team at the Arafura Games earlier this year and then went out and increased his total by 3kg to post the best total of his career to win gold at the recent Pacific Games in Samoa.
“I just have to be aware of what the other Ocieania lifters in my category are doing,” Wakeling told The Weightlifting Platform as he prepares for Thailand. “Obviously the Tokyo [Olympics] spot is the main priority and always will be leading up to it. So just making sure I remain in the top spot in all of Oceania is important.”
With Taretiita Tabaroua from Kiribati looming just behind Brandon and pushing to take the top spot, this will be a great battle to watch come September.
Worlds this year is going to be a massive indicator for who will be heading to Tokyo for the Olympics next year. Each athlete will feel the pressure to perform and perform well. There is only one spot per weight category in the entire Oceania region up for grabs, so one poor competition or misstep could be critical for these athletes.