Today, we continue our analysis of the Australian Open startlist, this time focusing on the women’s draw. If you missed our breakdown of the men’s comp, you can catch up here.
To kick off the weekend for the women’s competition, Loa Dika Toua from PNG will take to the platform as the lone 49kg lifter. Even though she is the only person in her category, this four-time Olympian is someone worth watching.
Loa Dika has an incredible competition resumé: two silvers and one gold across three Commonwealth Games; 12 Oceania Championship gold medals going back to 2002; and four world Championship appearances.
In the 55s, Queensland’s Erika Yamasaki will be going up against a fellow Commonwealth Games athlete in Mary Lifu (Solomon Islands). Erika sits 10kg ahead of Mary on the startlist, but don’t expect Mary to roll over. Erika will have to fight to maintain her lead.
KIANA ELLIOTT v SARAH COCHRANE (64kg)
The race between these two is starting to heat up. Kiana had the edge on Sarah for a long time, but Sarah finally closed the gap, eventually surpassing Kiana in Robi points, late last year. Kiana will need a great performance at the Open to take back her top spot in the region, as there are now two Oceanian women above her on Robi point standings.
Megan Signal from New Zealand has leapfrogged Kiana as well but she is scheduled to compete as a 76kg lifter for the Open. Purely for the entertainment factor, we hope Megan is just playing games at the moment, and decides to drop back down to the 64s before the Open. This would all but guarantee a thrilling three-way battle between Kiana, Sarah and Megan on the day.
Whatever happens, be sure to keep your eyes on these classes (64s/71s). It’s going to get interesting!
There are two battles you need to watch out for in the 76kg category.
The race for gold will play out between Emily Godley from England and Minhee Mun from South Korea.
These two only sit 1kg away from each other on the top of the startlist, and both need to have an exceptional performance to continue their push towards the Olympics. Speaking of the road to Tokyo, Emily and Minhee are both on the outside looking in at the moment, so winning gold at the Open will likely be the last thing on their minds. Instead, they’ll be focusing on their Robi points, and doing what they need to do to book a flight to Tokyo in July.
The second race is between Australia’s Ebony Gorincu and New Zealand’s Megan Signal. Only sitting 4kg away from each other on the startlist, they’ll both come out swinging in the hope of securing their spots for Tokyo. With Megan moving up two divisions form the 64s, this looks like a big statement that she feels it’s easier to qualify for the Olympics as a 76.
Eileen Cikamatana (87+):
The 87+ is a strange weight category for Eileen to be entered into. Don’t expect her to stay in this division. The Weightlifting Platform recently spent a week with Eileen and her coach Paul Coffa, and they both said she is an 87kg lifter and will be staying there.
We did, of course, see Eileen drop down to the 81s to attempt to break the Junior World Record in late 2019, but she’s back to her original 87kg for the Rome World Cup this week.
The only reason she would stay in the 87+ division is to actually be pushed for once, given she’s always so far ahead of the field in the 81s.
Eileen’s closest rivals in the 87kg category are Feagaiga Stowers (Samoa) and Laurel Hubbard (New Zealand) with entry totals of 275kg and 270kg, respectively.
Cikamatana’s entry total is very high for the Open at 280kg (5kg heavier than she has down for Rome). Her best competition total to date is 269kg. It will be incredible to watch Eileen lift in Australia again.