Weightlifters have tough task

Damon Kelly
Damon Kelly Adam Pretty

THE glory days of Australian weightlifting are a distant memory.

South Australian tuna fisherman Dean Lukin captured the imagination of the country when he won Australia's first weightlifting gold in Los Angeles in 1984.

But apart from Lukin's mighty effort, the pickings have been slim indeed.

Our first medal in the sport came in Helsinki in 1952 when Vern Barberis won bronze, and the only medal since Lukin was a silver won by Stefan Botev in Atlanta in 1996.

We have just two lifters in London, 29-year-old Melbourne engineer Seen Lee and 28-year-old Queenslander Damon Kelly who supports his career by coaching.

Lee will be first cab off the rank when she competes in the women's 63kg division, the competition getting underway at 12.30am tomorrow (AEST).

She burst on to the international scene when weightlifting made its Commonwealth Games debut in 2002 in Manchester, winning bronze in the snatch, clean and jerk and combined events in the 53kg division.

Lee missed the Melbourne Games in 2006 but returned to Commonwealth Games competition in 2010, winning silver with a total lift of 192kg in the 58kg division in Delhi.

She has lifted almost double her body weight in the clean and jerk, with a personal best of 112kg, while her best effort in the snatch has been 96kg.

Realistically, neither Lee or Kelly are medal chances in London, but both are determined to produce personal bests to try to inspire others.

Topics:  london olympics weightlifting

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