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Five-strong squad ready to heave for Australia

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The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has named five weightlifters to the Australian Olympic Team, including two Commonwealth Games Australia alumni and a Gold Coast 2018 Games medallist.

Amongst the five weightlifters ready to heave the barbell at the Tokyo Olympics will be Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Erika Yamasaki and Gold Coast 2018 team member Brandon Wakeling.

The team will also feature Kiana Elliott, Matthew Lydement and 2018 silver medallist Charisma Amoe-Tarrant, who competed on the Gold Coast for Nauru.

All five team members will be making their Olympic debuts at the Games in Tokyo.

Holding more than 15 national records over almost two decades of elite competition, including winning bronze at the Melbourne 2006 Games when she was just 18-years-old and the only Australian woman to clean and jerk her own bodyweight, Erika Yamasaki is ecstatic to make her Olympic debut.

“I have always dreamed about going to the Olympics,” Yamasaki said.

“I feel like I will be representing everything I believe in – not only the 21 years I have been in the sport, but everyone who has been apart of my journey – my coaches, my club, my state, and especially my family. We did it!!”

“My dad was born and raised in Yonago, a prefecture in Tottori along the west coast of Japan. I feel right at home whenever I am in Japan – Japan is me! And really, my Olympic dream blossomed from a seed my dad planted in my head as a kid!

“When Japan was first announced in 2013 as the host nation, I always wanted that to be the Olympics I could make, but laughed as I thought I would be too old. After missing out in Rio I thought my chance of ever going to an Olympics was over – but here I am and I get to represent Australia in Tokyo! It all just feels like it was meant to be.”

Gold Coast team member Brandon Wakeling becomes the second Indigenous Australian to lift at an Olympics, joining Anthony Martin from Sydney 2000, and hopes his debut Olympics can inspire the next generation of lifters.

“It’s an honour to be able to continue the line of Indigenous representation in the sport of weightlifting,” Wakeling said.

“In being the second indigenous Australian to lift for Australia at the Olympics, I am very much looking forward to seeing that number grow in the years to come.

“My family has been following closely to my journey to Tokyo since the first Olympic qualifying competition at the end of 2018. It’s been a very long qualifying period, with many highs and lows involved and my family are so proud to see me live out my Olympic dream.”

Chef de Mission of the Australian Olympic Team Ian Chesterman congratulated the athletes.

“It’s fantastic to welcome five weightlifters to the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo,” Mr Chesterman said.

“This is the most weightlifters Australia has sent to an Olympics since our home Games in Sydney, and is testament to the fantastic work of all the athletes, their coaching and support staff and Australian Weightlifting Federation to secure these five Olympic spots.

“All the weightlifters are making their debut, so it will be exciting to see them in action in Tokyo and they will provide inspiration to those athletes who will aspire to be part of the Australian Olympic Team in Paris in 2024 and beyond.

“Congratulations to all the athletes for this achievement and to your families, friends and supporters who have helped them realise their Olympic dream.

Today’s announcement takes the number of athletes selected to 273 of an expected 450-480, this number includes 112 Commonwealth Games Australia alumni members.

The Weightlifting competition will run from 24 to 28 July and 31 July to 4 August at the Tokyo International Forum.

Australian Olympic Weightlifting Team

Name Event Age State Olympic Games Experience Commonwealth Games Experience
Charisma Amoe-Tarrant Women's 87kg+ 22 QLD Debut 2018 – Women's 90kg+ – Gold (competing to Nauru)
Kiana Elliott Women's 64kg 23 SA Debut
Matthew Lydement Men's 109kg+ 27 QLD Debut
Brandon Wakeling Men's 73kg 27 QLD Debut 2018 – Men's 69kg
Erika Yamasaki Women's 59kg 33 QLD Debut

With thanks Australian Olympic Committee and Australian Weightlifting Federation.

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