Australian weightlifter Eileen Cikamatana becomes first woman to win Commonwealth gold for two countries

The Paris Olympics beckon for Australian weightlifting star Eileen Cikamatana, who has made Commonwealth Games history with a record-breaking performance.

Cikamatana won Australia’s first weightlifting gold at the Birmingham Games with lifts in the 87kg category that put her on a different level to the competition.

More significantly, she is now the first woman to win Commonwealth Games gold for two countries, having won the 90kg class on the Gold Coast for Fiji.

“I don’t know how to describe it… I can’t fit it into words,” Cikamatana said of her achievement.

“I think it’s floating somewhere. I will need to grab it then I will let you know.”

Cikamatana won Australia’s first weightlifting gold at the Birmingham Games.(Getty Images: Dean Mouhtaropoulos)

Soon after the Gold Coast Games, Cikamatana switched to Australia after a dispute with Fiji’s weightlifting governing body over where she should train.

She was unable to compete at the Tokyo Olympics because she was still ineligible, but Cikamatana showcased her vast talent in Birmingham.

Cikamatana set the Games record in the category with her snatch lift of 110kg.

She then took the overall lead with her first clean and jerk attempt of 129kg.

Cikamatana’s second lift of 137kg won the gold medal, and also set the clean and jerk and overall Games records.

She capped her outstanding win with a third lift of 145kg, giving the Australian a total of 255kg.

Eileen Cikamatana performs a clean and jerk (multiple exposures combined to produce seven shots of Cikamatana)
Eileen Cikamatana lifted a total of 255kg.(Getty Images: Dean Mouhtaropoulos)

Canadian Kristel Ngarlem won silver with 236kg and Nigerian Mary Osojo took bronze with her total of 225kg.

The achievements have come as Cikamatana recovers from a 26cm tear in her thigh last year — an injury so painful she cannot squat.

“They’re personal bests after the injury, I could say,” she said of the Games lifts.

“I’ve lifted 156 jerks and 121 snatches, yeah… here comes Paris, 2024. Here we go.”

Cikamatana was in tears at the medal ceremony and she paid tribute to coach Paul Coffa and his wife Lilly.

“I was emotional because I [am] really appreciative of getting to represent the green and gold and standing on the podium, listening to the anthem,” she said.

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