Matthew Lydement might not be a name you’ve heard before.
The Queenslander, who began lifting in 2015, has only totalled in three international Olympic-qualifying events over the past year, which normally wouldn’t give him much of a shot at actually making it to the games. Add to this the fact Samoa’s Sanele Mao is by far Oceania’s best lifter in the 109 category, and it looked for all the world like Matthew would have to enjoy the Olympics as nothing more than a spectator.
However, under the new Robi points system, Matthew currently sits in front of Sanele, due in large part to Sanele’s unpredictable form at major competitions. At the 2018 World champs, Samele bombed, missing all three clean & jerks. Then, in 2019, Samoa did not send him to World Champs at all.
The result of all this? Matthew and Tanumafili Malietoa Jungblut from American Samoa sit atop the Oceania leaderboard.
“I saw Jungblut from American Samoa only do a 310kg total over in Rome and so that’s left that wide open to get in front of him. I thought there’s a mathematical chance here. So I emailed the AWF, they were on board and now I have to fly to America to compete at the Arnold,” Matthew says, explaining the strategy behind his last-minute push for Tokyo.
Both Sanele and Jungblut are competing at the Arnold in Columbus, Ohio, alongside Matthew. Matthew will need to bring his A game and hope for the best outcome possible. But it’s not entirely within Matthew’s control. As an athlete, the last thing you want is to have your fate determined by someone else, but in this case it may end up that way.
Matthew needs to beat Jungblut at the next two internationals (The Arnold and Oceania). But he also needs Sanele to either absolutely crush the field (giving Sanele a worldwide top eight spot) or he needs Sanele to bomb (and fail to gain another total in one comp). This is how Matthew can lock up a spot and call himself an Olympian.
With the race heating up between these three 109s, it’s sure to be an exciting fight all the way until the final lift of the final qualifying competition in April. The Weightlifting Platform will be sure to follow all the action and bring you all the information you need to keep up to date with what’s going on.
For a comprehensive explanation of how weightlifters qualify for the Olympics, check out our previous article here.