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Tia takes pride in wearing green and gold

9 August 2016

WEIGHTLIFTING: The Olympic journey has ended for Australian weightlifter Tia-Clair Toomey, who pushed herself to attempt a personal best but missed completing the lift.

Toomey, 23, of Gladstone, opened Australia’s campaign on Day 3 of competition, lining up in Group A of the 58kg women’s competition.

The Olympic debutant looked confident early despite missing her second snatch attempt, redeeming herself on the third effort and recording a lift of 82kg.

Her opponents were more aggressive in the snatch, with Sabine Kusterer of Germany and Ukraine’s Veronika Ivasiuk both achieving a clean 90kg lift.

But it was the clean and jerk where Toomey had set her sights.

After successful first and second attempts, Toomey paced herself to line up for a 112kg clean and jerk attempt. Her personal best in the clean and jerk is 111kg – the pressure mounted.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t get that jerk. Next time definitely,” she said.

“A little bit (tough), I don’t know what it was. Maybe just some nerves which, there are always nerves, so I don’t really actually know what happened.

“I think that my right side is definitely stronger than my left, it’s definitely something that I’ve tried to work on, but I think there are a few factors there.”

The 112kg clean and jerk evaded all but one competitor, Mathlynn Sasser of the Marshall Islands, who nailed it on her third and final attempt.

Sasser finished the group second, one point behind Kusterer, who recorded a total of 200.

Toomey finished fifth in the pool of seven with a total of 189.

An emotional Toomey said it was a once in a lifetime experience to represent Australia at the Olympic Games – it was only the third time that she had lifted for the country since taking up the sport 18 months ago.

“Despite not being my best day out there competing, it was definitely the experience of a lifetime and I’ll never forget it, that’s for sure,” she said.

“I felt pretty proud (today). At the Australian flag raising (in the Olympic Village) we had some inspirational speeches … it made me think about what they said and how proud they are to wear the green and gold and when I was putting on my suit today I definitely felt that.

“Olympics is the pinnacle of all sport, this is definitely the big one, and to be able to say that I did actually compete and I got out unhurt and injury free is just a bonus.”

Toomey’s grandmother Dianne Dixson, mum Debbie Toomey and fiancé Shane Orr were in the crowd for support; they are her greatest fans who cheer Toomey on through all sporting pursuits, including international CrossFit tournaments, where she recently placed second at the worlds.

Toomey’s weightlifting teammate, Simplice Ribouem, will compete in the men’s 94kg category on Day 8, Saturday, 13 August.

Candice Keller

olympics.com.au

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