Last weekend, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, on the island of New Caledonia, a host of elite weightlifters and one of the best coaches in the world gathered to contest the 2019 Pacific Cup.
The bare-bones facilities and almost unbearable heat were a shock to the system for some of the Australian athletes. Despite this, team Australia — comprising three Under 23 athletes as well as two Under 15 athletes — had a great showing.
Conor MacDonald and Phoenix Goodwin (the two Under 15 athletes) spent the week training at the Oceania Weightlifting Institute with Paul Coffa on the OT program.
Unfortunately, Phoenix (49kg) was coming off a back injury, so she arrived at the institute with not a lot of recent lifting under her belt. But this wouldn’t stop her from putting up a fight. She went 4/6, hitting a 44kg snatch and a 54kg clean & jerk for a 98kg total.
Her third attempt clean & jerk at 58kg was a grind, and was eventually called for a slight press out.
Conor (73kg) had one of the best performances of the team going 4/6 but breaking Under 15 national records in the snatch, clean & jerk and total.
He opened his clean & jerk 4kg over that national record at 115kg and jumped straight to 122kg which gave him a qualifying spot at the 2020 Youth (Under 17) Oceania Champs.
He went on to clean 128kg but narrowly missed the jerk. This would have been 17kg over the national record. Conor finished at 90/122 for a total of 212kg.
This was Joshua Wu’s final outing as an Under 23, as he’ll be going up to the Senior division next month.
The goal was B grade, but Joshua fell short. He snatched 113kg and made a third-attempt clutch clean & jerk at 142kg, having missed the first two attempts at 142kg. So he just managed to scrape a total together. And that 255kg total was enough for third place in the 73kg division this year.
Jackson Howie had a standout performance going 6/6. After a less than perfect day at this year’s Australian Nationals, Jackson made up for it in New Caledonia. Hitting a 127kg snatch and a 157kg clean & jerk, he added 13kg onto his best-ever competition total. At the end of the day, it was enough to earn him a silver medal in the 81kg category.
Australia’s 109+ champion Orion Walsh came to the Pacific Cup nursing a knee injury. In fact, he wasn’t even expecting to compete until eight days out.
After the intensive calendar of Australian and New South Wales weightlifting Orion was pretty beat up. He went out, power snatched 120kg and power clean & jerked 145kg for an easy 6/6 day.
There will more be more about Paul Coffa and the Oceania Institute this week. Stay tuned.
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