Strongest Aussies ready to li... | Australian Olympic Committee

Strongest Aussies ready to lift London

Author imageAOC20 Jun 2012
Strongest Aussies ready to lift London

Giant Queenslander Damon Kelly and Victorian Seen Lee will be lifting the bar for Australia at the London Olympic Games, against the strongest men and women in the world.

Giant Queenslander Damon Kelly and Victorian Seen Lee will be lifting the bar for Australia at the London Olympic Games, against the strongest men and women in the world.

After a long process the pair both excelled at the final weightlifting selection trial and have officially been selected to wear the green and gold in the men’s 105+kg and women’s 58kg divisions.

Lee is excited to test herself at the Olympic Games for the first time and Kelly knows what to expect after his 2008 experience, where he impressed in ninth place.

"Beijing was a career highlight and a great experience,” Kelly who weighs in at 149kg said.

“Knowing what to expect with the Olympic set-up and the scale of the Games means it will be less nerve wracking second time around.”

“I am really looking forward to the Games and working hard to lift a personal best and secure another top 10 finish.”

Kelly is aiming for a combined total of 400kg for the clean and jerk, and snatch at the 2012 Olympics. He lifted 397kg to set a Commonwealth Games record and win the gold in Delhi in 2010.

The development officer with Queensland Weightlifting combines 25-30 hours of work with eight intense training sessions a week to try and match some of his competitors who train full-time with a team of support staff.

Weighlifting is a small sport in Australia but we do the best we can with the time we have and we will be competitive.”

Kelly,28, is focusing on improving his leg strength in his final seven week ‘mini-block’ of training by doing four squat sessions a week with weights between 250-300kg depending on the exercise.

Lee, who weighs almost 90 kilograms less than Kelly, has been dreaming of competing at the Olympics for over a decade. When women’s weightlifting was added to the Commonwealth Games program in 2002 she won Australia’s first medal. She also won the silver medal in at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and has a wealth of experience at the World Championships.

“The Olympic Games is the pinnacle of athletic achievement and I am really looking forward to lifting against the very top tier performers,” Lee said.

“It has been a whirlwind since the Trials. I went into the final competition of four knowing it was very important.

“I focused on doing the best that I could on the day and it is a big thrill to be the top Australian female,” Lee who works full-time in Melbourne as a mining engineer, said.

Lee knows her success wouldn’t be possible without her ‘very accommodating’ employer, her coach Anthony Dove and her team at Hawthorn Weightlifting Club.

“My support crew are great and provide so much fantastic moral support. When I told them of my selection they were ecstatic!”

Australia’s weightlifters are returning to their origins in London. Australia was first represented in the sport at the 1948 London Olympic Games. The first Australian weightlifting medal came in 1952 when Vern Barberis won bronze in Helsinki. In 1984 Dean Lukin won Australia’s only gold medal with Robert Kabbas taking silver. The only other Australian medal was won by Stefan Botev in 1996.

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