Gold Coast based Deadly Choices ambassador Brandon Wakeling is confident of doing Australia proud during the IWF World Weightlifting Championships in Turkmenistan in Central Asia, from November 1-10.
Competing in the new 73kg division, the 24-year-old is looking forward to testing his mettle once again on the international stage, after claiming an overall seventh placing earlier this year on home soil, during the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The Asian assignment doubles as the first qualifying opportunity towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where Brandon will be required to maintain competitive consistency in order to book his plane ticket to Japan with the national team.
“From the World Championships through to March 2020 there’ll be six major competitions that everyone has to do if they want to make it through to Tokyo,” said Wakeling.
“In Olympic weightlifting the top eight in each category from these competitions automatically make the cut, then one lifter from each continent is added to the final competitor list for the Olympics.
“They’ve made Oceania a continent, so for me my ticket is to be top in Oceania at the completion of these six qualifying events.
“Right now in training it’s all about dialling everything in, doing the little one percenters that’ll ensure I’m performing at 100 percent during competition.
“I’m sitting around my personal best lifts at the moment having built a solid foundation over the last couple of months, so I go into Worlds with a great deal of confidence.”
Wakeling’s rise in the sport has been meteoric, having only taken up professional weightlifting in 2016, following a promising junior rugby league career.
Since the Commonwealth Games he’s appreciated the opportunity to become an inspiring role model for Indigenous children as a Deadly Choices ambassador.
The health promotion initiative of the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health aims to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to make healthy choices for themselves and their families by not smoking, eating good food and exercising daily.
Such a mantra, which inspires communities to live healthy, active lifestyles, sits comfortably with the proud Wonnarua man from the Hunter region, whose family moved to Queensland from Campbelltown.
“I love sharing my story with the kids at school and imparting my knowledge relating to the importance of physical activity and good nutrition during our Deadly Choices Healthy Lifestyles programs,” confirmed Wakeling.
“In a society where there’s a lot of noise out there which negatively influences our young ones, I feel privileged to have the power to potentially change that and bring about more positivity through encouraging healthy lifestyle choices.”