Event: Men's 73kg
Olympic History: Olympic debutant
Highlights: 2019 Pacific Games Champion
Club: Cougars weightlifting club
Year Born: 1994
State Born: NSW
Wakeling first started weightlifting at age 21, when he decided to accompany a friend interested in experimenting with the sport to an introductory gym session.
The southwest Sydney native quickly became obsessed with the sport, almost immediately sacrificing his semi-professional rugby league position and postgraduate tertiary education to pursue a place in Australia’s 2018 Commonwealth Games Team on the Gold Coast, his city of residence.
With a complete focus on his newfound passion, initial competitive results were marked by a silver medal in the -69kg classification of the 2017 Oceania Weightlifting Championships. At the event, Wakeling lifted 125kg in the Snatch and 158kg in the Clean & Jerk.
Wakeling’s driving weightlifting ambition was realised in 2018, when he competed on Australian soil in the Commonwealth Games’ -69kg event. As Australia’s sole representative in the competition, Wakeling completed a 120kg Snatch and a 155kg Clean & Jerk, totalling to form a 275kg effort to finish in seventh place in front of his friends and family.
Having completed his first aspirations of a Commonwealth Games appearance, Wakeling begun to look ahead to a prospective Tokyo Olympic campaign. Improving performances at the 2018 World Weightlifting Championships and Arafura Games precipitated Wakeling’s gold medal performance at the 2019 Pacific Games, where the 27-year-old lifted a 123kg Snatch and a 167kg Clean & Jerk to earn top honours in Samoa.
Another appearance at the World Championships in 2019 again exposed Wakeling to the -73kg division’s prestige. In the tournament, Wakeling lifted a combined 281kg to finish 29th among all competitors.
In preparation for Tokyo, Wakeling has been training under coach Miles Wydall at Cougars Weightlifting Club, where he has continued to refine and improve his technique and ability ahead of his Olympic debut at the 2021 Tokyo Games.