OF all the roads to Rio being followed by Australian athletes, few have been as rocky as that of Jenna Myers.
If the determined weightlifter completes the journey from the rural surrounds of Frankford to the Brazilian carnival city it will be as much down to perseverance as performance.
In a decade-long competitive career, the former Exeter schoolgirl has had more than her fair share of setbacks.
Earlier this month, Myers won an international event in Brisbane but remains focused on the Olympic selection event which is the Oceania championships in Fiji in late May.
“Brisbane was just one stepping stone towards Olympic selection,” Myers said. “It was to give athletes an opportunity to get a good result and prepare them for the process in 10 weeks’ time.
“Everything comes down to Fiji. There’s going to be some really strong girls in the same situation and all putting in maximum effort.”
Major events and Myers have not been comfortable companions.
She missed the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne after testing positive to a stimulant and in New Delhi in 2010 had a bronze medal within sight before a scoreboard malfunction. Four years later in Glasgow she collapsed at the weigh-in after a dramatic late bid to drop a weight category.
The Olympics have been even more unkind. In 2012 Myers was Australia’s top-ranked lifter and fought off illness and exhaustion to qualify her country a place in London only for it to be claimed by another lifter who had dipped out on the qualification tournament.
Having also dealt with such injuries as a detached bicep tendon, the 30-year-old Parks and Wildlife ranger could have been forgiven for throwing in the towel.
“The reason why I stuck at it is I’ve enjoyed training and overcoming the hurdles that were thrown at me. That made me a stronger person.
“I guess I thrive on these challenges, especially coming back after collapsing in Glasgow.”
With the support of coach Leo Isaac and nutritionist Michael Prosser, Myers competed at the open 75kg+ division at last year’s world championships in Houston, Texas, against rivals twice her weight.
Back at her favoured 75kg, the 214kg total Myers lifted in Brisbane (a 99kg snatch and 115kg clean and jerk), was 6kg more than she needed to finish sixth at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
“Coming back after four years I’m very happy with that. I know I can be a lot more competitive at the lower weight. I’ve got a little way to go yet but I’m looking forward to getting a result at the Oceanias.”