Pure relief as Myers qualifies

THE rollercoaster ride that is Jenna Myers' weightlifting career has reached another peak with a second successive Commonwealth Games qualification.

Jenna Myers in training.

Jenna Myers in training.

The Frankford 28-year-old has overcome selection sagas, a supplement ban and back-to-back shoulder injuries to make the plane for Glasgow and admits she does wonder what she could have achieved without such hurdles.

``I would just like 12 months of no interruptions - no injuries or other external factors - and I'd like to know where I sit because I've been through so much,'' Myers said after her latest cut-throat selection process.

After shoulder surgery last August to reattach a bicep tendon, Myers injured her other shoulder in training and was unable to compete at last month's Commonwealth Games trials.

However, the 228-kilogram total she lifted last July had been recorded within the qualification period so Myers was selected subject to being able to better the 218kg achieved by her nearest rival.

Australian Commonwealth Games Association representative Sam Coffa and Pedro Sanchez from the Australian Weightlifting Federation travelled to Launceston to oversee the attempt but the Parks and Wildlife ranger admitted she was more concerned how her shoulder would hold up.

No stranger to the pressure of a do-or-die lift, Myers snatched 96kg then completed a 123kg clean and jerk for the required 219kg total.

``It was a feeling of pure relief from the knowledge that all the hard training and rehab and the frustration coming back from injury had all been worthwhile and I knew that was why I do this sport,'' she said.

``You have hard times and good times and getting that total was the icing on the cake.

``Many people had told me I was walking an injury tightrope, but I just thought if I don't go for this I will regret it for the rest of my life.

``It was great to bounce back mentally as well as physically.''

While Australia's weightlifting team is yet to be officially named, Myers has been nominated for selection and is hoping for better luck than she experienced four years ago and during selections for the 2012 Olympics when she was controversially denied Australia's sole female spot despite being the top-ranked lifter.

Facing a third attempt at a 118kg clean and jerk which would have secured a bronze medal in Delhi, Myers was wrongly called out to the platform, sent back and then watched the computer system fail before the enforced delay saw her lift cold and miss out.

``It could have been a very different story if there hadn't been a malfunction, but it's a learning experience and you can't turn back time,'' she said.

 ``I'd hope the technical system is better in Glasgow.

``The Commonwealth Games is almost the pinnacle of the sport. Only the Olympics are above it and they're the only events where you have opening and closing ceremonies.

``It's the buzz of a team environment, it's a really exciting time and will be an experience to remember because there's a good group of lifters and we all get along well. It should be an amazing experience.''

Needing additional body mass to stabilise her shoulder and help it recover, Myers was forced to compete up a weight in the open (75kg-plus) division alongside two-time Olympian and 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Deborah Acason, so will be competing against substantially bigger rivals in Glasgow.

``It's a huge disadvantage but that's the weight I've qualified for so I don't know how I will go.

``I'd like to be in the mix but I'll be very light. I would have liked to have been under 75kg but it would have been a fair effort with the months out after surgery.''

The Melbourne-born former Exeter schoolgirl, who has been a TIS scholarship holder since 2009, plans to return to her usual under-75 division in a bid to make the world titles in Kazakhstan in October.

She praised her physio Sally McLaine, chiropractor Karen Pedley, Tasmanian Institute of Sport strength and conditioning coach Pete Culhane and PCYC coach Mark Brown who also helped her sister Charrae, 14, earn selection to the Australian junior team to compete at Oceania titles in New Caledonia in May.

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