The women’s 76kg session was defined by two thrilling battles: the trans-Tasman battle for bronze between New Zealand’s Megan Signal and Australia’s Ebony Gorincu, and the grind for gold between Emily Godley of Britain and Korea’s Minhee Mun.
Ebony missed her 86kg opener behind. She succeeded at the same weight on her second attempt, then changed her third to match Megan’s posted opener of 90kg, forcing Megan to lift next. Megan had no problem making 90kg.
Ebony’s strongest and most confident lift came on her final attempt when she nailed 90kg. It wouldn’t be enough to take the lead going into the clean & jerk, but it sent a message. Megan, naturally, sent one right back, standing up strong out of her 94kg second attempt, despite an extended pause in the catch. Megan couldn’t stick her third at 96kg, however, giving both women a 2/3 in the snatch. But Megan would go into the clean & jerk with a 4kg lead, plus 5kg more (113kg) posted for her opening attempt.
Ebony crushed the clean on her opener at 108kg, but her elbows looked perilously close to a rebend in the jerk. She then milked the clock before her second attempt, changing it twice, with long breaks between, before settling on 113kg to match Megan — and thus, again, forcing Megan to lift next.
Megan hit 113kg to send Ebony back out to the platform. This time, Ebony had a late rebend and failed the lift by majority decision, 1-2. She dropped her third behind after another powerful clean. And that was it — Megan already had a bigger total, and still had two more clean & jerks to go.
The crowd got right behind Megan after she failed at 118kg. That morale boost may have willed her over the line, as she successfully recovered with the 118kg overhead.
Meanwhile, Minhee and Emily duked it out for gold.
Emily breezed through her first snatch attempt but Clarked her second at 96kg. After recomposing herself, she returned to the platform and successfully hit 96kg. Minhee went 3/3 in the snatch, winning it with a 97kg third attempt, giving her a 1kg lead over Emily heading into the clean & jerk.
Emily hit 120kg and 123kg for her first and second, putting Minhee on the backfoot with her first and second of 114kg and 120kg.
The scoreboard jousting went down to the wire as each athlete’s coaching staff increased and re-increased their listed attempts. Minhee made 125kg on her third, which forced Emily to make a 4kg jump for her own final attempt (she only jumped 3kg between her first and second). Tenacity called and Emily answered, smashing 127kg to win the comp by 1kg.
Now, we obviously can’t round out this piece without mentioning the redoubtable Eileen Cikamatana, who competed as the sole lifter in the 81kg class. As the announcer said during the presentation: “It would appear being ranked number one in the world has scared off all the competition.”
She basically muscle-snatched 105kg, pushed through a shaky attempt at 110kg and then missed it when front when she attempted a new Australia, Oceania and Commonwealth record at 116kg. She strolled through the clean & jerks, successfully hitting 130kg, 135kg and, finally, 140kg — 18kg below her world record.
Eileen, of course, took gold by default — not that having any competitors in her category would’ve changed that.
Emily Godley — Gold
Minhee Mun — Silver
Megan Signal — Bronze
Eileen Cikamatana — Gold