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Alethea Boon was all smiles after placing fifth in the women’s 58kg weightlifting today.

Boon, 34, is a rare Commonwealth Games athlete – she competed in the 1998 and 2002 Games as a gymnast. Then at the age of 30 she took up weightlifting and has improved so much she has represented her country with distinction in that sport, too.

Boon hasn’t had the easiest time of it building towards the Commonwealth Games. She ruptured her Achilles in 2016, which set her back seven months, and there have been other injury niggles too.

But she is an optimistic personality as well as a talented competitor.

In the weightlifting today, she was never going to be able to match the likes of Tia-Clair Toomey, the Australian who won with a total of 201kg. But still, Boon totalled 181kg and her fifth placing in a field of 15 represented a quality effort.

She had attempts at 76kg, 79kg and 81 kg in the snatch and got them all. In the clean and jerk she lifted 92kg, 96kg and 100kg.

Boon revealed afterwards that when she was out with injury she wrote down the number 181 and circled it – it was her Commonwealth Games goal. In that case it was mission accomplished today.

During the competition Boon equalled her New Zealand snatch record, broke the clean and jerk record repeatedly and also broke the New Zealand record for the total.

“I’m absolutely over the moon,” she said. “I did put in the work to get here.

“It was a great atmosphere out there and I tried to soak it up and use it to my advantage.”

Asked to compare her Commonwealth Games experiences, Boon said the Gold Coast Games was the most fun she’d had.

“My motto is to have fun and smile. That’s easy to do here.”

Gold Coast 2018 Kuala Lumpur 1998 Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games Alethea Boon Weightlifting
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