Australian Weightlifting Federation High Performance Manager, Jacquie White, said Australians need to get more exposure to top level international competitors over the next four years if the sport is to get even better results in Tokyo.
White said Australia should be proud of the efforts of Tia-Clair Toomey and Simplice Ribouem in Rio.
“Overall the performance was in line with expectations,” White said.
“This was the first Olympic Games for both Tia and Simplice, and neither were overawed by the occasion.
“Simplice equalled his personal best snatch and Tia was painfully close to achieving a new personal best clean & jerk, which isn’t an easy feat on the Olympic stage. Their performances bode well for Gold Coast in 2018.”
But White said a key to Australia improving on the world stage is to give top weightlifters more exposure to the best in the world.
“Continuous improvement across all areas is a must,” she said.
“More specifically but not exclusively, we need to increase our athletes’ exposure to higher level international athletes, whether through competition or training.
“We also need to improve our athlete monitoring so that we can try to prevent setbacks due to injury and ensure that our athletes are in peak condition when they step on to the competition platform.”
While Toomey and Ribouem will both take some time away from competition, Australia will have a strong senior, and junior and youth team heading to Penang for the Commonwealth Championships and the IWF Youth World Championships.
Both Olympians are likely to return to international competition at next year’s Commonwealth Championships on the Gold Coast, ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
White will join other AWF officials to analyse the overall performance in Rio, and to look at what needs to be done differently from a team perspective for Tokyo.
She believes one area that needs attention is the size of the support team.
“My initial thoughts are that we need to consider increasing the number of support personnel that we send to the Games,” White said.
“Due to our small team size we are only allocated one Team Official accreditation by the AOC, but if we can send additional personnel as associate officials to assist the appointed Team Leader/Coach, then it should be given due consideration prior to the beginning of the next Games campaign. It's about looking at what is in the best interests of the athletes and who they need there to best support their performances.”
Meanwhile Australian Olympic coach, Miles Wydall, said he was satisfied with the performance of the two lifters in Rio.
“I was pleased we achieved top 16, which was our AIS target, and that both athletes equalled or had close attempts at PB's at their first Olympics,” he said.
“We need to continue to grow the sport in Australia and have more focus on high performance, which we are now doing since the appointment of High Performance manager, Jacquie White.”