Legally blind weighlifter Malek Chamoun has earned nomination for Australia’s Glagow Commonweath Games team.
A legally blind athlete, a Cambodian-born brother and sister, two lifters born in Cameroon and two who have served drug bans are all set to be part of Australia’s Commonwealth Games weightlifting team.
They are among the 15 to earn nomination for the Glasgow Games after selection trials on the Gold Coast at the weekend.
Heading the Scotland-bound squad is big Queenslander Damon Kelly, a veteran of three Games and a 2010 Delhi gold medallist.
Kelly sat out the trials because of illness but was never going to lose his spot.
New South Welshman Malek Chamoun shapes as one of the feel-good stories of the entire Australian Games team.
Declared legally blind at 15, Chamoun went into the trials as a borderline selection chance.
Led to the stage by his weightlifting father, George, and cheered on by a capacity crowd, Chamoun smashed his personal best to put his name on the nomination list.
Set to join them are Vannara and Socheata Be, the Melbourne brother and sister who were born in Cambodia and will make history if both board the plane for Glasgow.
Vannara was the first Cambodian-born athlete to represent Australia at an elite level when he went to Delhi in 2010.
Simplice Ribouem and Francois Etoundi both lifted for Cameroon at the 2006 Melbourne Games, and both are now set to go to their second Games for Australia.
Ribouem will be defending the gold he won in Delhi, while Etoundi will be keen to bounce back after being struck down with injury in India.
Chris Rae and Jenna Myers have both had enforced breaks from weightlifting because of positive drug tests but each has earned nomination.
Queensland’s Deborah Acason, who trains on an open-air concrete slab in outback Miles, will go to her fourth Commonwealth Games aiming to add to her 2006 gold medal, while Victoria’s Seen Lee and Queensland’s Erika Ropati-Frost could be off to their third Games.
Robert Galsworthy will be out to make up for disappointment from his Games debut in Delhi, but says he’s a much better lifter now.
And Max Dal Santo, Tegan Napper and Kylie Lindbeck will all be making their Games debuts.
Napper and Lindbeck weren’t even involved in weightlifting four years ago, while Del Santo has finally broken through after being a team reserve twice.
The 15-member squad must be confirmed by the Australian Commonwealth Games Association before team berths become official.