A couple weeks ago, the AWF announced the team who’ll represent Australia at the Oceania Weightlifting Championship.
There will be seven senior males heading over to Nauru to battle it out against the rest of the region.
Brandon Wakeling — QLD (Miles Wydall)
Ryley Porter — QLD (Damon Kelly)
Boris Elesin — VIC (Aghvan Grigoryan)
Ridge Barredo — NSW (Michael Pang)
Samuel Kennedy NSW — (Troy Smith)
Jackson Roberts-Young — NSW (Peter Upham)
Matthew Lydement — QLD (Damon Kelly)
This is a very strong male team led by the number one in the country, Brandon Wakeling. All eyes are going to be on Brandon as he is the only one on the team with a chance to secure a ticket to Tokyo later this year.
But it’s worth keeping an eye on Ryley Porter, too. Ryley has only made one total in a sanctioned competition since the 2016 National Champions — and that was in the 2019 Cougars Open Club Champs, which gave him the total he needed to make the team.
Ridge Barredo, a 2018 Commonwealth Games lifter, had a stellar year in 2019 and well deserves to head back to the international platform. Ridge won best male lifter at the 2019 National Champs, achieving the coveted A grade (and he doesn’t mind talking some smack about that fact too! Just to make sure Brandon Wakeling doesn’t forget it).
Although the men’s team is shaping up for a strong showing, the women’s team will generate the biggest buzz.
All eight lifters are there to prove they deserve a spot at the Olympics. Not one lifter can afford to have a poor performance as this will be their final chance to book their ticket.
Out of the eight women, only three can go to Tokyo. Out of the eight women, each will be up against their direct opposition knowing what numbers they need to hit.
Erika Yamasaki — QLD (Coach: Angela Wydall)
Kiana Elliott — SA (Martin Harlowe)
Sarah Cochrane — QLD (Bryce Knight)
Stephanie Davies — SA (Greg Hobl)
Ebony Gorincu — QLD (Miles Wydall)
Eileen Cikamatana — NSW (Paul Coffa)
Kaitlyn Fassina — TAS (Lionel Isaac)
Charisma Amoe-Tarrant — QLD (Angela Wydall)
The stakes are especially high in the 64kg division, where the long-running battle between Kiana Elliot and Sarah Cochrane will be at an all-time intensity. Who’s going to take out the top spot? Who’s going to handle the pressure of going up against their fellow countrywoman and be able to perform when it counts?
The Junior and Youth teams are much smaller than recent years. This is likely due to the increased standards enforced by the AWF in late 2019 for the 2020 season. In 2019, there were 19 Junior and youth athletes competing from Australia. In 2020, there are only six.
Maddison Power is a name you just can’t look past. Maddison is an incredibly experienced and talented athlete for someone who is just 16 years old. She’s certain to bring home some medals from Nauru.
Conor MacDonald is new to the international platform and is, without a doubt, a kid to watch out for. This will be his biggest test yet, for both his preparation and performance, but he’s got the confidence to do what needs to be done.
Jett Gaffney — QLD (Miles Wydall)
Conor MacDonald — VIC (Joshua Ward)
Oliver Saxton — WA (Jay Saxton)
Lilly Strange — QLD (Christian Hopper)
Maddison Power — QLD (Callum Hannay)
Bronwyn Dunne — QLD (Callum Hannay)