They say there’s no strength without struggle. Lucky for Australia, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Weightlifting and Para-Powerlifting Teams eat struggle for breakfast.
When the 11-strong weightlifting team and dynamic powerlifting duo grip their bars across the next two weeks, it will be with the intention to beat the 2018 medal count that consisted of three medals, one gold, one silver, one bronze.
There are 16 weightlifting gold medals (eight for both women and men) and four para-powerlifting gold medals (two for men and two for women) on offer in Birmingham, in what is expected to be the highest standard in the sport’s history at the Games.
Australia has competed in weightlifting at every edition of the Games and is the champion of weightlifting in the Commonwealth, winning a total of 154 medals, with 58 being gold.
The Birmingham 2022 team is supercharged with individuality, each team members story as captivating as the next.
There’s former former sprinter and bobsledder Ebony Gorincu who will compete in the 76kg class after taking up weightlifting to build strength with the intention to bobsleigh, only to find a love for the metal bar.
Then we move on to Western Australian Royal Australian Navy instructor Suamili Nanai whose Commonwealth medal dreams in the 109kg class reign as much as his genuine personality.
A combat services officer and instructor at the School of Maritime Warface West at HMAS Stirling in Perth, Nanai introduced weightlifting into his training regime while playing rugby. He too excelled and found a passion to earn him the nation’s top ranking in the over-109kg class in 2020 before claiming gold last year in the Oceania Championships.
Brenna Kean will look to impress in the 59kg class among other debutants including Kiana Elliot who many will remember finishing 11th in the 64kg class at her Olympic debut in Tokyo on her 24th birthday last year.
In the para-powerlifting, Ben Wright is set to join Leigh Skinner as the only Australian powerlifter to go to three Commonwealth Games. Wright finished 10th at Glasgow 2014 and 6th at Gold Coast 2018 in the heavyweight division.
Nigeria has won all 12 gold medals since the sport was first contested. Australia’s enthusiasm and versatility may just be the perfect catalyst for change, so let’s see what unfolds for the green and the gold!