The men’s 89kg was mostly about the fight for silver, given gold looked like a lock for New Zealand’s Cameron McTaggart — and so it proved. But there was, early on, scarcely a kilo to separate the next four lifters in the class: Liam Saxby (Australia), Michael Lane (Australia), Joel Gregson (Australia) and Douglas Sekone-Fraser (NZ).
All four made strong opening snatches, but Liam blinked first when he Clarked his second and third attempts. Had he made his third attempt at 131kg, he would’ve set a new competition PR.
Joel went 3/3, finishing the snatches with 130kg, 2kg shy of his best performance. Doug finished 2/3 but tied Joel’s result at 130kg.
After the dust settled on the snatching, Michael Lane emerged as the clear favourite for silver, despite missing a 3kg PR attempt at 138kg on his third. He had a 4kg lead over Joel and Doug who were neck and neck at 130kg.
Cameron was the very definition of consistency, going 3/3 and nailing his third attempt at 140kg as calmly as he did his first at 133kg, rounding off his third success with a celebratory backflip on the platform.
Liam’s clean & jerk opener at 148kg, though successful, put him too far back to catch up. He did, however, manage to set a new clean & jerk comp PR of 154kg. Doug crashed out of the podium race after only managing to go 1/3 in the clean & jerks. He took the hit well though, striking a conscientious and composed figure on the platform.
Michael and Joel made a concerted push for silver, both loading up 167kg for their final attempts (in Michael’s case, this would’ve been a comp PR). Both, unfortunately, failed and ended the clean & jerks 1/3, which clinched second place for Michael.
The machine Cam McTaggart went 3/3 again here, finishing on 170kg with enough gas left in the tank to treat us to another backflip.
In the 96s, Don Opeloge dominated. I mean, he really dominated. His listed opening total, 360kg, was 70kg heavier than that of his closest opponent, Singaporean En Wei John Cheah who posted an entry total of 290kg.
En Wei John had a solid 6/6 performance (it was almost 5/6 but the jury overturned a majority-decision “no lift” on his final clean & jerk) despite causing me, and likely others in the crowd, great anxiety every time he firmly shut his eyes during the pulls on his snatches and cleans.
Moments before he was due on the platform, Don decreased his opening snatch 4kg to 156kg but then failed the attempt. He came back out and crushed it on his second.
The crowd was up and about when Don leapt up 8kg and loaded 164kg onto the bar for his final attempt, which would beat the current Oceania record (his own, in fact) by 4kg. He clearly came here to rewrite the record books and then some. He clinched it, and it seemed as though there was never any doubt he would.
Don also set a new clean & jerk Oceania 96 record (210kg) because of course he did, smashing his old record by 8kg. This also secured him the Oceania record for total (374kg).
Cameron McTaggart — Gold
Michael Lane — Silver
Joel Gregson — Bronze
Don Opeloge — Gold
En Wei John Cheah — Silver
Robert Jordan — Bronze
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated En Wei John Cheah’s entry total was 286kg. His entry total was actually 290kg.