The NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) is excited to have its first scholarship-holder selected to Australia’s Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games team, weightlifter Eileen Cikamatana.
She might be the youngest weightlifter on Australia’s Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games team, but history beckons for the powerful prodigy.
Eileen could become the first woman to win Commonwealth Games gold medals for two different countries in individual events when she competes in Birmingham.
Eileen, 22, claimed gold for Fiji in the 90kg class at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and is among an 11-strong Australian weightlifting squad striving for success in England.
The weightlifters, announced to coincide with the 100 days to go milestone, are the first Australian team members to be announced in an expected total of 425 who will represent the green and gold at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Eileen has deep ties to Australia. After becoming a citizen in Sydney, she claimed gold medals for her new country in junior world cup events in 2019 and 2020.
This year she is competing in the 87kg class, grateful for the opportunity her adopted country has afforded her as she looks to a golden future for Australia.
“To get that opportunity to represent another country, especially Australia, where you get respected for what you do, it is a dream come true,” Eileen said.
“No words can describe the feeling of it. You lift to get more medals, break records and make the country proud, and I’m appreciative of the opportunity that they’ve given me.”
Australian Team Chef de Mission Petria Thomas OAM is thrilled for the 11 weightlifters who are the first members named for the Australian team bound for Birmingham.
“We’re delighted to announce our 11 weightlifters, the first Australian Team Members officially selected to compete at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games,” Thomas said.
“Our weightlifters are definitely ones to keep your eye on come August, with an exciting mix of returning alumni, some who are making their Commonwealth Games debut and two weightlifters who are representing Australia at the Commonwealth Games for the first time.
“Australia has enjoyed a great history in weightlifting at the Commonwealth Games, and I know these 11 team members will be bold, brave and brilliant in Birmingham.”
CEO of the Australian Weightlifting Federation Ian Moir welcomed today’s selection of the weightlifters who are bound for Birmingham.
“It has been a short qualification process for the Commonwealth Games on the back of the Tokyo Olympics, but our athletes have committed themselves to being ready for the Birmingham Games,” Mr Moir said.
“We have assembled a strong team of 11 athletes, there are a mixture of returning Commonwealth Games representatives and seven who will be making their Games debut.
“I know all of them can’t wait to be wearing the green and gold again and will be working hard to add their names to the incredible legacy of Australian weightlifters at the Commonwealth Games.
“On behalf of Australian Weightlifting, we are so very proud of each and every one of these athletes. We can’t wait to watch them compete on the platform in Birmingham.”
Weightlifting made its first debut at the Auckland 1950 Games and the women’s competition was introduced at the Manchester 2002 Games. There are 16 weightlifting gold medals (eight for both women and men) on offer in Birmingham, in what is expected to be the highest standard in the sport’s history at the Games.
Australia has competed in weightlifting at every edition of the Games and is the champion of weightlifting in the Commonwealth, winning a total of 154 medals, with 58 being gold. Australia’s most successful Commonwealth Games in weightlifting was the Victoria 1994 Commonwealth Games where Aussie lifters won 25 medals, including 14 golds.
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will be held from Thursday 28 July to Monday 8 August with the weightlifting to be conducted at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) from Saturday 30 July to Wednesday 3 August 2022.
Article courtesy of Commonwealth Games Australia