The Australian Weightlifting Federation is confident the performance of Tia-Clair Toomey at the Rio Olympics this week will inspire a new generation of female lifters to the sport, and will sow the seeds for a greater number of athletes to represent Australian at Tokyo 2020.
Within the space of one month, Toomey competed at the World Cross Fit Games and the Rio Olympics, a remarkable achievement and one which bodes well for the future of weightlifting.
Toomey is one of several athletes who have come across to weightlifting from cross fit, and her success and the great thrill the Olympic Games generates is bound to inspire more.
Already athletes like Kiana Elliott, a bronze medallist at the recent World Junior Championships who competed in gymnastics before moving to cross fit, and Pacific Games gold medallist and former cross fit athlete, Philippa Malone, have lifted for Australia.
AWF High Performance Manager and former international weightlifter, Jacquie White, said this is an exciting time for the sport in Australia.
“The whole of Australia should be very proud of what Tia achieved this week,” White said.
“For someone who has not been in our sport for very long, to make the Australian Olympic team and then perform the way she did, is incredible.
“And the bigger picture is even more thrilling. We have an outstanding group of lifters who all combined to ensure Australia would qualify at least one lifter for Rio.
“We are confident those same lifters, and many more who we hope will be inspired to try out weightlifting by the exploits of Tia, will help Australia qualify even more lifters for Tokyo.”
White said the next four years will be incredibly exciting for weightlifting in Australia, with the Commonwealth Championships on the Gold Coast next year, followed by the Commonwealth Games one year later, and then Tokyo in 2020.
She said the influx of new lifters joining from cross fit would also push established weightlifters to new heights.
“The performances of Kiana and Pip have been inspiring, as was the achievements of established weightlifter, Erika Ropati-Frost, who lifted twice her body weight last year,” White said.
“Imagine how much better these lifters will become as they are pushed to greater achievements by new faces joining the sport.”
Australia’s second Olympic weightlifter, Simplice Ribouem, will lift on Saturday morning, Rio time.
Toomey and Ribouem in action at the 2016 Oceania Championships