Well, we made it. The third and final day of the 2020 Australian Open. And what a day it’s proving to be! The female supers promised some thrills and they did not disappoint.
The penultimate session of the 2020 Australian Open featured five women in the +87kg class, and a single lifter, Australia’s own Kaitlyn Fassina, in the 87kg.
Although Laurel Hubbard (NZ) seemed certain to romp home to victory after she nailed a massive, record-breaking snatch, the competition was blown wide open in the clean & jerks when she bombed. It was a fierce and dramatic contest in the end, with plenty of highlights — and controversy.
The biggest controversy arose on Australian Charisma Amoe-Tarrant’s second snatch attempt as an escalating, piercing noise emanated from the PA system. It reached its highest pitch during her pull.
From the media box, I could see Myles Wydall — a coach at Cougars Weightlifting Club where Charisma trains — plug his ears and look expectantly over at the competition officials. But no one intervened.
The noise subsided just as Charisma missed the 105kg snatch in front, and subsequently her third attempt also at 105kg. The Weightlifting Platform doesn’t have access to the warm-up room, but I’d bet every last penny that Charisma’s coach, Angela Wydall, was having words.
This might well have put Charisma off for the whole day, as she also missed two lifts in the clean & jerk, including a brutal clean that hit her hard on the third attempt. She pulled up wincing and limped off the platform.
TWP has since confirmed Charisma has suffered an injury to her knee. We do not, as yet, know the full extent of the injury. She finished 2/6 with a 241kg total and the bronze.
Laurel Hubbard had a great outing in the snatch, setting a new Oceania record at 133kg with a good lift by majority decision. Things got tense in the clean & jerks when Laurel missed both her first and second attempts at 146kg.
In real danger of failing to make a total, Laurel made the gutsy (and possibly foolish) decision to whack an extra 5kg on the bar. Looking strong in the clean, Laurel missed the jerk in front, in much the same way she did on her first two attempts. No lift. She was out.
The unexpected champion of the session, Samoa’s Iuniarra Sipaia, had a minor hiccup early on when a wrist wrap came loose during her setup on her first snatch. But she managed to wrangle it back into place and complete the lift just before time ran out. We didn’t know it at the time, but this small gesture of quick thinking and perseverance was a sign of things to come.
Iuniarra kept her cool while Charisma and Laurel started to falter. In a clean & jerk session that had eight misses (including Laurel’s bomb) across 15 total attempts, Iuniarra managed to stick two lifts and claim the biggest clean & jerk by 9kg at 150kg.
This put her total 14kg in front of Jihyeon Kim. Jihyeon had a pretty solid day herself, going 5/6 to clinch silver, rounding out a respectable competition overall for the three Korean women who competed.
In the 87kg category, Kaitlyn crushed the snatches. She went 3/3 and set a new competition PR with 102kg on her final attempt. A “good lift” call by majority decision on her first clean & jerk was reversed by the jury.
So she added 4kg for her second attempt and nailed it at 120kg, no doubt motivated by getting burned by technicality on her first. Kaitlyn then narrowly missed the catch on her third attempt at 122kg, which would’ve been a comp PR for her in this weight class.
Kaitlyn Fassina — Gold
Iuniarra Sipaia — Gold
Jihyeon Kim — Silver
Charisma Amoe-Tarrant — Bronze