Favourite for gold takes aim on cash
WEIGHTLIFTING: Commonwealth Games gold medallist Damon Kelly admits making ends meet can sometimes be a weight on his shoulders.
The 151kg man mountain from Atherton has to work part-time as a coach and relies on limited funds to keep his sporting dream alive.
That was why, on the eve of the Oceania Championships which start in Brisbane today, the 29-year-old called for more consistency with funding he and other weightlifters get from the sport's power brokers and government officials.
"Sometimes we get paid in lumps, sometimes we don't. So all I'd like to see is a bit more consistency," he said.
Kelly regularly visits schools around Brisbane and is passionate about coaching youngsters in good lifting techniques, but also preaches good time management.
"If you want to go far in this sport, you need to be good with your time. I work part-time and in between my coaching, that's when I practice," he said.
Kelly is a raging hot favourite to pick up gold as a super heavyweight in the snatch, clean and jerk, and total categories at the Oceania Championships, which finish on Sunday.
He carried a quad injury into last year's London Olympics, but still finished a respectable 16th, lifting 165kg in the snatch and 216kg in the clean and jerk, to total 381kg.
This year he has a personal best total of 375kg, and hopes to improve that to 380kg at the championships.
"My overall personal best is 397kg - I'm aiming for that by the end of the year," he said.
That would put him in a good position to defend the Commonwealth Games gold medal he won in Delhi in 2010, setting a new clean and jerk record in the process.
Kelly did not want to speculate on whether next year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow would be his last major meet.
"My body is feeling good at the moment and I'm still enjoying lifting," he said. "You're always pushing yourself to set new PBs - that's why the sport is addictive."
Kelly nominated Niue's Danny Nemani, Oceania's No.2, as his main challenger in Brisbane.