The first Aussie to take to the platform was Erika Yamasaki, the only Australian woman to have clean & jerked double bodyweight.
Competing in the 59kg category, Erika finished 23rd out of 36 athletes with a 3/6 performance hitting an 80kg snatch and a 106kg clean & jerk. The latter was an Australian clean & jerk record.
“It’s a real eye-opener every time you go to Worlds, to see lifters absolutely at the top of their game. It really makes me want to train a lot harder,” Erika tells The Weightlifting Platform.
Upon reflection, Erika was hoping for a better result after an incredible training cycle leading into Thailand. But she’s been able to learn from the experience and now views it in such a positive light it bodes well for her next few competitions, which are crucial if she’s to clutch that elusive Olympic spot.
“Looking back at it, I know I’m good for more, I can come back stronger and so I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into my next training cycle.”
We will see Erika take to the Senior Nationals platform in a few weeks in Canberra to go head to head with Seen Lee of Victoria, and prepare for the Doha Open come December where she will likely be hitting some large numbers and hopefully improve her chances to secure her ticket to Tokyo in 2020.
In the 64kg category, Australia had two lifters, Kiana Eliot and Sarah Cochrane.
Kiana didn’t have the day she wanted, only making two lifts. After a strong opener at 93kg, Kiana missed her second snatch at 95kg and third at 96kg. After a shaky start, Kiana only managed to hit her opening clean & jerk, finishing in 25th place.
Sarah had a great showing, hitting three competition PRs, clutching 20th place with 93/113 for a 206kg total.
“I’m happy with what I lifted but you know, you always want more. There are lots of things I can work on but, happy with how I went,” Sarah tells TWP.
“I’ve got a lot more in the tank than what I’ve been able to do on the platform at the moment,” says Sarah. This is exciting news coming into the last qualifying block for the Olympics in this 64kg division.
Kiana has a tight hold over the number one spot, but if Sarah can put together some big lifts in the next few competitions, anything can happen.
Brandon Wakeling (73kg), Australia’s top male Olympic hopeful, went out a bit conservative in Thailand this year. He achieved a solid 5/6 with no real hassle. He made a 119kg snatch and a 162kg clean & jerk, both well under his best lifts.
Brandon decided to play this competition smart as the training cycle leading into Worlds, and following the Commonwealth Champs in Samoa, wasn’t long enough to really get to where he wanted.
“Due to the demands of it [Olympic qualifying criteria], I was trying to look after my body, not try to do anything too crazy and then just try to put some decent numbers on the board,” Brandon tells TWP.
Even though Brandon’s major competitor for the Olympics, Taretiita Tabaroua from Kiribati, edged him out by 1kg and one place, Brandon still secures the number one ranked spot in Oceania because Brandon totalled a lot higher earlier in the year. After each competition, Brandon is looking more and more likely to hold onto the Tokyo ticket. (For an explanation of how our athletes can qualify for Tokyo, check out our article here.)
Charisma Precious Ameo-Tarrant was the final Australian lifter to take to the platform on Thursday night, and she came out strong. She basically powered her opening snatch attempt, then nailed her second. Her first two clean & jerks looked just as strong but unfortunately missed the jerk on her third attempt.
Charisma is only 20 years old but has great experience on the international platform, winning a silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games for Naru. This young weightlifter has such a bright future in front of her, we guarantee you’ll see her at many World Championships.
Finally, we can’t write a recap without mentioning our adopted weightlifter Emily Muskett (née Godley).
Emily is the 2018 Commonwealth Games champion, European silver medalist and now the first British female to win a medal at a World Champs in 25 years.
“It was a pretty fun competition to start off with, I’ve never shared a platform with the likes of Mattie Rogers or Kate Nye so I was already quite excited to be in the same group as them,” Emily told The Weightlifting Platform.
This was only the start of the excitement for Emily’s day. On her second attempt, she hit a PR snatch at 97kg. “We had the choice of going 99kg or 100kg for my third attempt and I was like, let’s just shove 100 on,” says Emily. This was a great move as she went out to crush the triple figures for the first time.
As the Korean lifter dropped off the pace in the clean & jerk Emily stepped out for her second attempt to lock up bronze in the clean & jerk and then made a big jump to 131kg to try to clinch bronze in total. After a heroic clean, she just missed the jerk in front.
“I never even considered I’d get a medal of any kind [at World Champs] so to stand up there [on the podium], next to the American girls, getting a medal from Pyrros Dimas was quite surreal,” the humble Brit explains.