Weightlifter Cikamatana eyes Games history

Anna Harrington |

Eileen Cikamatana headlines Australia’s weightlifting team for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Eileen Cikamatana headlines Australia’s weightlifting team for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Four years after winning Commonwealth Games gold for Fiji, Eileen Cikamatana will aim to become the first woman to claim gold for two different countries when she headlines Australia’s weightlifting team in Birmingham.

On Tuesday, 100 days out from the start of the Birmingham Games on July 28, 11 weightlifters were announced as the first Australian team members.

Cikamatana claimed gold in the 90kg on the Gold Coast as an 18-year-old, then switched to competing for Australia, becoming a citizen in 2019 via a distinguished talent visa.

Ineligible to compete in green and gold at the Tokyo Olympics as it came too soon after her switch, Cikamatana will feature in the 87kg category in Birmingham, due to a shift in the competition’s weight classifications.

While noting she hadn’t really considered the possibility of claiming gold for two different countries, topping the podium is Cikamatana’s focus.

“It is a very special feeling, we’ll get that feeling on the day that we get the gold in our hands,” she told AAP.

“Gold is what we’re aiming for and nothing else but gold. That’s what we are here for, that’s what we’re training for.

“If you’re not winning gold then what’s the point of training and chasing all these dreams? 

“You’ve got to put something in front of you to chase. If you don’t have anything, why bother chasing?”

Also competing for Australia for the first time after previously claiming a medal for a different country is Charisma Amoe-Tarrant in the over-87kg.

Amoe-Tarrant moved to Australia in 2012 but previously represented Nauru, winning a silver medal in the over-90kg in 2018.

Brandon Wakeling, a proud Wonnarua man, finished seventh in the 69kg on the Gold Coast but has moved up to the 73kg in his bid for gold.

Ridge Barredo, eighth in the 105kg four years ago, will compete in the 96kg category.

There are seven Commonwealth Games debutants on the 2022 weightlifting team.

They include former sprinter and bobsledder Ebony Gorincu and West Australian Royal Australian Navy instructor Suamili Nanai. 

Australia has competed in weightlifting at every edition of the games and is the most successful country, winning 154 medals, including 58 gold. 


* Charisma Amoe-Tarrant, women’s 87kg+, 22yo, second Commonwealth Games, first for Australia

* Eileen Cikamatana, women’s 87kg, 22yo, second Games, first for Australia

* Sarah Cochrane, women’s 64kg, 32yo, debut 

* Kiana Elliott, women’s 71kg, 24yo, debut

* Ebony Gorincu, women’s 76kg, 32yo, debut

* Brenna Kean, women’s 59kg, 27yo, debut

* Ridge Barredo, men’s 96kg, 26yo, second Games

* Kyle Bruce, men’s 81kg, 22yo, debut

* Suamili Nanai, men’s 109kg+, 27yo, debut

* Brandon Wakeling, men’s 73kg, 28yo, second Games

* Jackson Young, men’s 109kg, 25yo, debut