Australia’s recently crowned Pacific Games Champion Brandon Wakeling goes in confidently to this month’s World Weightlifting Championships in Thailand, as the outright 73kg points leader in Oceania standings.
Midway through his 2020 Tokyo Olympics campaign the 25-year-old continued his dramatic rise in global rankings, etching his name within the World top 30 with an overall points’ victory in Samoa, courtesy of a gold medal in the clean and jerk and silver in snatch.
In just his fourth year of competition, the Deadly Choices ambassador continues to cast aside his novice status to maintain ongoing competitive progression.
Since placing seventh at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Wakeling’s first three Olympic qualification events have netted no less than three top-of-the-table combined totals among Oceania competitors.
“That’s exactly where I need to be, atop the Oceania rankings to qualify for Tokyo 2020. That was always the immediate goal following the Commonwealth Games at home on the Gold Coast,” confirmed Wakeling.
“I continue to secure personal bests in both disciplines and my lifts at the Pacific Games would have placed me within medal contention at last year’s Commonwealth Games.
“So it’s all about continuing the momentum over the next eight months before the final Olympic qualifier at the Oceania Championships in April.
“All going well at World Champs in Thailand I’ll further entrench myself within the top 30 and extend my lead in Oceania standings, then it’s back home for the Australian Open in the New Year.
In Olympic weightlifting, the top eight in each category from these competitions automatically make the cut, and then one lifter from each continent is added to the final competitor list for the Olympics.
World weightlifting officials have made Oceania a continent, meaning Wakeling simply needs to finish on top of this pool to gain an Australian entry into Olympic competition.
Since the Commonwealth Games, Wakeling has 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.
“Our Work It Out program is instigated through Gold Coast’s Kalwun Health Services and is targeted to assist elders by providing exercise and yarnin’ sessions to develop a sense of team and promote social inclusion.
“Some come to get fit, manage their sugar levels or heart problems, and others come simply to be part of a community, so it’s a win-win all round!”
Pattaya, Thailand will host the World Weightlifting Championships from 18 to 27 September 2019.
John Kaarsberg 0411 511 029