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Reflections from the platform: Weightlifting

20 January 2013

WEIGHTLIFTING: It was a sensational three days of weightlifting competition at St Ignatius College for the Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF). 

China topped the medal tally with a whopping eight medals. Changsheng Wu’s impressive gold in the men’s 105kg event took the Chinese tally to six gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze.

The combined Oceania team finished strong in second place with seven medals, including two gold, four silver and a bronze. Whilst Australia finished with five medals in total, including one silver and four bronze.

New Zealand finished fourth with one silver and two bronze. Great Britain snatched up a silver medal to finish fifth, courtesy of UK Olympian Zoe Smith’s impressive performance.

There were numerous highlights of the competition that kept the audience on the edge of their seat, holding their breath and in complete amazement.

Australian weightlifter Joshua Wu made January 19th a day to remember. His remarkable performance in the men’s 62kg event saw him break two national records on the way to bronze.

Wu clean and jerked an impressive 110kg and finished with a total of 188kg to claim an AYOF medal just like his sister. Joshua’s older sister, Olympic diver and Beijing 2008 silver medallist Melissa Wu, was in the audience to see him achieve a personal best and break both previous national records. 

Perhaps Wu’s performance was inspired by the euphoria the day before when London 2012 Olympian Zoe Smith competed in the women’s 63kg event. The British clean and jerk record holder sent a buzz through the audience when she took to the floor. Smith finished with a silver medal and total of 200kg, but her presence excited fellow lifters and audience members alike.

On the same day, Australians Sophie Cowen won silver, with a total of 110kg and Alexandra Martin walked away with bronze, with a total of 84kg.

The final day of the weightlifting competition lived up to its affectionate title "Super Saturday." Steven Kukuna Kari from the combined Oceania team broke a new Commonwealth Junior Record in the men’s 85kg event. Kari broke his own previous record of 184kg set in June 2012 with an impressive clean and jerk of 185kg, to the applause of the crowd. Kari’s determination to break the record was remarkable to watch.

The Chinese continued their domination in most events. The most electrifying occurred during the Chinese contest of the women’s 69kg event on 19 Saturday, with Xinyue Wang and Yinyi Shen both vying for gold right until the end. Wang finished the stronger of the two with a combined total of 250kg and Shen finished with silver on 220kg but the sheer resolve and flawless technique made the fight for gold that much more exhilarating.

The final men’s 105kg event featured a Trans-Tasman bronze battle between the New Zealander Samuel Prendergast and Australian Ryan Pasfield. Supporters were on the edge of their seats as Pasfield needed to clear his final clean and jerk of 155kg to win bronze.

When he failed to make the lift, Prendergast walked away with the bronze, with a combined total of 260kg, surpassing Pasfield’s total of 250kg. The personal battle between the Kiwi and Australian excited the audience with anticipation and edge-of-your-seat competition

Mohamed Taha

Follow the AYOF on Twitter: @AYOF2013 #AYOF2013 #RoadtoRio

Contact the author of this story: @Mo_Taha1

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