The most pressing question heading into the men’s 81kg session was to what extent this bronze-level event would be used merely to keep up appearances on the way to Tokyo 2020. A glaring question mark hung over the true intentions of Aussie Brandon Wakeling.
Brandon Wakeling engaged in a bit of strategic posturing ahead of the comp. He initially entered as a 73kg with a 290kg total. However, just before the official startlist was finalised, Brandon moved up a weight class — to 81kg — and dropped his entry total a whopping 30kg to 260kg.
Brandon has never competed as an 81kg before. So this would’ve come as quite a shock for the Kiwis, especially Cameron McTaggart, who holds all three records in Oceania for the 81s. Cameron, who normally competes as an 81kg, decided not to cut for the Open and instead listed as an 89kg.
Here at The Weightlifting Platform, speculation was flying: Would Brandon even compete? Or would he merely weigh in to give himself the option of competing in the 81kg category should he qualify for the Olympics? If he did, he might well push Cameron out of the running for a regional berth, given Brandon currently has the lead on Robi points.
Early signs seemed to vindicate our theory: Brandon shuffled out to the presentation wearing slides — and no weightlifting suit. He was due to make the first snatch attempt of the session at 110kg. The announcer called him to the platform, but we couldn’t see him anywhere in the wings.
Sixty seconds on the clock, 45 seconds… still no Brandon. At the 30-second mark, the announcer finally confirmed our suspicion: Brandon would not compete. Things just got serious. Watch this space to see how everything will shake out between Brandon and Cameron on the road to Tokyo.
To the other Aussies, Ryley Porter had the biggest opener for the snatch at 135kg (changed from 130kg). Posting those kinds of numbers, we thought he must be chasing Cameron McTaggart’s Oceania snatch record of 141kg. He changed his second attempt twice, moving up to 140kg, which he crushed to equal his own Australian record, and to bring himself within striking distance of the regional record.
Members of the crowd collectively held their breath, waiting for the TO to confirm Ryley’s next attempt… 142kg! He was going for it. Cameron’s existing record flashed in red on the scoreboard above Ryley’s head as the latter prepared to lift. He wasted no time, rocketing out of the start position with very little prep around the barbell. Down and up, locked out, and that was it. It was a good lift. We didn’t need to see the lights. And neither did Ryley, as he blasted a long “Wooo!” at the cheering crowd.
Ryley followed up with a solid performance in the clean & jerks, setting new Australian records for total on his first, then second, then third attempts at 152kg, 157kg and 162kg respectively. His final clean & jerk also set a new Australian record. In the end, Ryley went 6/6 and made an A-grade total at 304kg.
NSW’s Joshua Wu had a good outing, too. He went 5/6 (he missed his third snatch) for a total result of 273kg, setting PRs in the snatch, clean & jerk and total. In the case of the clean & jerk, he smashed his old PR — which he actually set as a 73kg lifter — by 4kg.
Ryley Porter — Gold
Lapua Lapua — Silver
Ika Aliklik — Bronze