Junior and Under 23 Nationals took place at Sydney Olympic park this past weekend with some incredible tenant on display.
Walking into the stadium on day one, you’re greeted by a professional competition layout for spectators and athletes alike, with both a grandstand and floor seating. There’s a classic old-school scoreboard in the background, and technical officials in their IWF or AWF blazers everywhere you look. A voice comes over the loudspeaker, instantly recognisable to anyone who’s been around Australian weightlifting for a while. It’s Lyn Jones and he’s announcing the first female session of the comp.
Session one had everything: from near boom outs to National records, and everything in between.
Amber Fielder from Victoria was coming off a disappointing finish in her first international competition a few weeks back. With pure determination, Amber made weight after a tough cut down to 55kg and managed to put a total on the board. She hit her final snatch, after just missing the first couple, to keep her in the competition. Amber power cleaned all three clean & jerk attempts like they were nothing. Unfortunately she got called for a press out on her second attempt so Amber was left with a 3/6 performance.
Phoenix Goodwin had the competition of her life, going 6/6 to secure a silver medal in the 49kg weight class behind a very dominant Stephanie Pickrell from Tassie who is four years her senior.
It was impressive to watch Phoenix push aside her light-hearted, playful nature the instant she spotted the barbell. From that moment, Phoenix was all business. She made every lift count and locked in a new total PR to move up the ranks. The fact she was the youngest lifter in the field at just 14 years old was doubly impressive.
Maddison Power, the 16-year-old Queensland prodigy, had another one of her outstanding performances going 5/6. Maddi was looking strong in her snatches through her first two attempts at 65kg and 68kg. Then 71kg was loaded onto the bar for a national record attempt, but Maddi narrowly missed it in front.
Maddi’s personal coach, Cullam Hannay, told The Weightlifting Platform “Maddi hadn’t gone above a 62kg snatch in training for a while before today.” But that fact did not worry this experienced young lifter as she came back out to clinch the National Junior clean & jerk record in the 59kg group with 86kg, taking gold in the Junior and Under 23 age groups. Remember, Maddi is still only a Youth lifter and was the youngest in her field. We will be seeing a lot more of Maddi this year as she turns her attention to Youth nationals and then Senior nationals.
The triple threat showdown of Tony Sok vs Rick Saha vs Gordon Fu did not disappoint. All Under 23 lifters, and all wanted that gold as much as the next guy. This was one of the battles of the day.
Tony, from Victoria, came out hot, snatching 98kg to put himself in first after the first portion on the competition. With a disappointing snatch session, Rick was sitting way back in 4th and looked like his day was done.
Tony missed his second two clean & jerks, opening the door to Gordon and Rick to move up the leaderboard. By the second attempt, Gordon had locked up gold, Tony was well placed for silver, and Rick had moved up to third.
With nothing to lose, Rick jumped up 7kg for his final clean & jerk to edge out Tony by 1kg and lock in silver. “I felt like I finally woke up in the competition at that lift and suddenly 124 felt really, really good,” Rick told TWP. “On the jerk I just closed my eyes and prayed.”
After it all shook out, Gordon won gold, Rick took silver and Tony claimed Bronze.
It was great to see one of the most dominant figures in Australian junior weightlifting back out on the national platform after quite a long hiatus due to injury. Joshua Wu, co-owner of HrdKAW Strength based in NSW, came out and blitzed the competition with his Australian Under 23 record-breaking snatch at 116kg.
“I’m so happy to have been able to go 3/3 and hit 116kg which ended a 20 month Snatch competition PB drought,” Wu posted on his Instagram after the event. Finishing off the day with a 148kg clean & jerk, Josh walked away as a seven-time national champ.
That’s a wrap for Day 1. Stay tuned for The Weightlifting Platform’s coverage of Day 2, out tomorrow.