Commonwealth super-heavyweight weighlifting champion Damon Kelly will begin his quest for gold in Glasgow this weekend at the national selection trials.
Reigning Commonwealth super-heavyweight weightlifting champion Damon Kelly begins his quest for back-to-back gold medals this weekend at the national selection trials on the Gold Coast.
Kelly, who claimed gold in the +105kg division in Delhi in 2010 and broke the Commonwealth clean and jerk record with a 221kg lift on his way to an overall total of 397kg, will be favourite to repeat his achievement in Glasgow later this year.
The 30-year-old Brisbane lifter finished a creditable 16th at the London Olympics in 2012 after a disrupted build-up when he recovered from quad injury to make the final, four years after finishing ninth in Beijing in 2008.
An elbow tendon problem that plagued him last year has fully recovered and 147kg giant said he is ready to make a mark this weekend.
“It will be good to get back into serious competition,” Kelly told AAP.
“Our sport is probably the only sport where you spend 100 per cent of the time in the gym. Our preparation is our training.”
Kelly will face former adversary Chris Rae this weekend with the South Australian back competing after a two-year ban for testing positive to marijuana.
Rae beat Kelly to win silver at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and Kelly is happy to see his rival back competing.
“He’s back from a ban, which is good to see,” Kelly said.
“It’s always good to have another super-heavyweight around, we are a bit different from the other lifters.
“It’s a good rivalry and adds some spice to the competition.”
Kelly began weightlifting as 14-year-old as part of his rugby training and is a former teammate of Dally M Medallist and Queensland superstar Cooper Cronk at St Laurence’s College in Brisbane, where he played tight-head prop.
“Cooper was the halfback in school team, I made him look good, he made a few runs off me,” Kelly joked.
“He was always an outstanding player and it is no real surprise that he has achieved so much in league.”