Weightlifter Erika Ropati Frost has created “footprints in unwalked sand”, becoming the first Australian woman to lift double her body weight.
The 27-year-old Queenslander, lifting in the 53kg division, successfully lifted 106kg in the clean and jerk section of the Australian Weightlifting Championships in Melbourne.
“I knew it was going to happen one day, but I’m so glad it happened today,” an emotional Ropati Frost said.
“It was a tough one, but it was well worth the hard fight. I’ve done these sorts of weights since the beginning of the year, but to finally put it together on the platform is incredible.
“This is really going to put me in a good spot for the Rio Olympic trials.”
Ropati-Frost said her first two lifts, although successful, didn’t feel good, so she went into 106kg not confident.
“I did feel a bit of pressure with getting this,” she said.
“A lot of people had expectations and hopes, so I really wanted to meet them. I felt I’d fell behind in my past couple of competitions.”
Her journey over the past two years has been difficult, with her husband, Tony, diagnosed with cancer shortly before last year’s Glasgow Games.
He has since received the all-clear from doctors, and was one of the first on the scene to embrace his wife after her history-making lift.
The three-time Commonwealth Games athlete said she has thought a lot about what it would mean to lift double body weight.
“Footprints in unwalked sand, that’s the image I had,” she said.
“I want to be able to keep pushing forward. To be able to be the first woman in Australia, that’s something I’ll have forever.
“I’m so proud of this moment.”
Ropati-Frost won the 53kg gold with a 188kg total, while Queensland policewoman Mary Barter won gold in the 48kg division.