Ipswich lifter eager to secure Rio spot
HAVING achieved an incredible Australian first, Erika Ropati-Frost has one foot planted firmly on the weightlifting platform at next year's Rio Olympics.
However, the Redbank Plains sportswoman is taking nothing for granted.
She's preparing to head to the United States to consolidate her recent progress.
As the first of three qualifying events for the Olympics, the world championships in Houston give Australia's number one ranked female lifter a terrific opportunity to build on earlier successes this year.
The Pacific Games gold medallist and national 53kg champion is challenging for a 190kg total.
"For Olympic qualification, if I can get as close to that as possible, it will put me in a really good spot to keep improving on for the Olympics,'' she said.
Ropati-Frost created history at this year's national titles in Melbourne by setting a national record in becoming the first Australian woman to lift double her body weight.
Competing in her regular 53kg division, she successfully lifted 106kg in the clean and jerk section.
"That was a really big stepping stone for Australian weightlifting,'' she said.
"It was an absolute honour.''
Ropati-Frost, 27, also recently set a personal best (84kg) in the snatch.
However, her latest focus is on the world championships where she expects to compete in the second of three highly competitive groups.
"The world championships before the Olympics is always massive,'' the three-time Commonwealth Games representative said.
"All countries send their top lifters.
"Last year we had around 32 lifters in my division and this year I've got 45.''
She hopes to break into the top 15 in Houston, having come 19th last year in Kazakhstan where the top three lifters raised totals between 214kg and 232kg.
Having lived in the Ipswich area since 2011, the Darwin-born competitor has made the region a valuable training base.
After impressive efforts in Papua New Guinea (Pacific Games) and the recent national titles, she increased her workload to include more morning sessions.
"I'm really training hard,'' she said.
"I try to train at least three times a week in the morning just to spread my training load out a little bit hoping that it will help me with my recovery.''
She's one of seven Aussie women heading to the US next week for the world titles. She expects to compete about November 21.
"I find competing a lot just helps keep me focused and looking for more goals to aim for,'' she said.
As a positive person, Ropati-Frost thrives on the higher level experiences.
"I usually get nervous the day of the competition or the night before,'' she said.
"Normally, it's a good nervous energy.
"At the moment I'm really excited. I can't wait to get over there.''