Session Three was always going to be a corker. Australian rivals Kiana Elliott and Sarah Cochrane in the 64s, and a predicted three-way battle between Nauruans Nancy Abouke and Maximina Uepa, and Aussie Stephanie Davies in the 71s.
Kiana and Sarah posted entry totals equal to their career-high performances: 213kg for Kiana at the 2019 Pacific Games, and 206kg for Sarah Cochrane, which she hit at both Worlds in Thailand and the Qatar Cup.
Sarah changed her snatch opener from 85kg to 88kg but missed the first attempt before coming good on the second. Her third changed twice, from 91kg to 93kg. She was trying to get as close as possible to Kiana’s planned second attempt at 95kg. Sarah confidently hit the 93kg, but then Kiana responded with a powerful 95kg second, just 4kg shy of her Oceania 64 snatch record of 99kg.
Kiana has hit a 100kg snatch once before, just two weeks ago, in training. I’d wager everyone in this room knew that. What they didn’t know was whether she’d try to nail it in a comp, and, in the process, break her own Oceania record.
As it turns out, yes, yes she would. The crowd was abuzz after Kiana stood up strong, elbows locked out, with a cool hundred over her head.
Sarah played the same strategy in the clean & jerk, raising her opening attempt 3kg to 108kg and then another 2kg to 110kg before she was due on the platform, which gave her the same opening weight as Kiana.
Kiana nailed her attempt — as did Sarah, despite nervous feet in the recovery. They continued to match each other for clean & jerk attempts, both posting 114 for their second. Kiana hit 114kg to earn herself a new PB on total as well as the Oceania record for total. She then declined to take her final attempt.
Sarah was quick to seize the opportunity, realising she had a chance to take the Oceania clean & jerk record. She loaded up 117kg but couldn’t stick it, in the end going 1/3.
In the 71s, Maximina, who holds every Oceania Junior and Youth record in the 71s — snatch, clean & jerk, and total — came out of the gate early and strong, opening with a 82kg snatch ahead of Nancy’s planned 83kg and Stephanie’s 85kg.
The 16-year-old Nancy, who nailed her 83kg opening snatch, seemed intent on unseating Maximina as Oceania’s best 71kg Junior. Nancy really put the pressure on when she loaded (but missed!) 87kg on her second attempt, which would’ve clinched the Oceania Junior and Youth snatch record.
Maximina came up good on her second attempt at 86kg, trying desperately to outlift Nancy. But Nancy made her final attempt at 87kg, meaning Maximina had to hit 88kg to maintain her grip on that record. On the day, she just didn’t have it in her, missing the attempt and so conceding the record to Nancy.
Things got interesting when Maximina failed to show for her first attempt in the clean & jerk (we didn’t even see her waiting in the wings) and she was consequently given a “no lift”. She was very punctual for her successful second attempt, however, at 102kg. But she dropped her final at 107kg to languish at 1/3 in the clean & jerk. Nancy hit 105kg, missed at 111kg, then hit 111kg on her final attempt.
Stephanie Davies ended up a non-contender in the predicted three-way lift-off. She increased her opener by 2kg but missed the 87kg behind, thrust forward by the falling barbell and skidding across the platform on her knees.
On her second attempt, she missed it in front. Stephanie caught the third, but got stuck at the bottom, she teetered for a moment before sending the weight far behind. The bar rolled off the platform as Stephanie’s hands flew to her face, a brief and intense moment of disappointment as she realised she’d bombed.
To the other Aussies, Sabah Chamoun started strong, but ultimately went 1/3 in the snatch. Darcy Kay had the opposite experience, struggling to find her opening snatch at 78kg, coming up wobbly but successful on her second attempt, before crushing her final attempt at 82kg.
Sabah took big jumps in her clean & jerks, successfully hitting 105kg, then 110kg and then loading 114kg on the bar for an attempt at the Oceania Junior 71 record. She came thrillingly close, powering the jerk and landing with strong elbows in the catch, but she lost her footing and failed to recover. Sabah’s total equalled the eventual bronze medal winner, Maximina, but because Maximina hit it first, Sabah had to settle for fourth place.
Darcy blitzed every attempt in the clean & jerk to finish the day 5/6 — a very respectable outing, proving her to be this session’s dark horse as she snuck up behind Maximina, via the opening left by Stephanie’s bomb, to steal silver.
Only one jury revision this session — coming again after the centre judge alone called a “no lift”. Maybe the judges’ eyes are slowly, but surely, adjusting to the mood lighting?
64kg Group A
Kiana Elliott — Gold
Sarah Cochrane — Silver
Emma McIntyre — Bronze
71kg Group A
Nany Abouke — Gold
Darcy Kay — Silver
Maximina Uepa — Bronze