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Australia has a very proud record in weightlifting at the Commonwealth Games, leading the medal tally in the sport with 153 medals, 57 Gold, 50 Silver and 46 Bronze.
By Dan Lonergan
Australia has once again assembled a very impressive group of people to represent the nation, both as athletes and also in regard to what they have achieved away from their sport.
This team is full of that old sporting cliché, youth and experience with nine first timers coupled with four-time Commonwealth Games Representative and popular super heavyweight Damon Kelly. Kelly has won a medal at all three of his previous games including gold.
Engineer Seen Lee is competing in the women’s 63-kilogram division and is at her fourth Games, while Debbie Acason has made it to five Commonwealth Games and collected bronze in the 75 plus weight division in 2010.
Simplice Ribouem, lifting in the 94kg class, began his Commonwealth Games career with Cameroon and will wear the green and gold for the third time after winning a gold at Delhi.
Francois Etoundi is also originally from Cameroon and coming off a bronze medal in 2014.
Vannera Be also comes from an overseas background, with the former Cambodian set to lift in his third games in the 62kg division.
Women’s lightweight Alyce Ferguson is a surgical nurse who measures her food at every meal, while Tegan Napper is a geophysicist who will lift in the 53kg class.
Kaitlin Fassina from the 90kg category class is a single mum of two-year-old son and has done a great job to raise him on his own and make the team.
Stephanie Davies is close to finishing her Naturopath degree as she combines her training for the 75kg category, while Phillipa Malone was a trampolinist and a slalom canoeist who has changed sports before plying her trade as a weightlifter.
Tia Claire Toomey is a cross fit champion, dubbed the fittest woman in the world, and has taken the significant attention in her stride and can’t wait to perform well in front of her home crowd.
Phillip Liao is a physiotherapist and participating in the men’s lightest division, the 56kg class. Brandon Wakeling from the 69kg division is ranked top six in the Commonwealth and while improving his ranking in recent times completed a business degree.
Ridge Bardedo brings a laidback but focused disposition to the 105kg class while is the tall figure of Boris Elesin rounds out the team in the 85kg class.
Elesin has a very strong genetic athletic background with his mother, Yelena Yelesina winning a gold medal at the Sydney Olympics for Russia in the high jump, while his father Achuan Grigoryan represented Armenia in weightlifting in 1996 and was flag bearer.
With such a happy and dedicated team, our weightlifters are in a good place to produce some excellent performances at the Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre from April 5th until April 9th.