Pressure lifts for Deborah
IPSWICH weightlifter Deborah Acason's bid for a third Olympic Games depends on a final qualifying competition - the national championships this weekend.
Acason, who turns 29 next week, has to lift near her best at Chandler on Saturday afternoon or miss the Australian Olympic team.
Having already created weightlifting history by representing Australia at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, Acason knows what it takes to perform.
However, the new mum will need her tenacious inner strength as much as her powerful lifting ability to make it this time.
Acason has just returned from a major Olympic qualifying tournament in Samoa. She won a silver medal in the Commonwealth and a bronze in the Oceania competition after best lifts of 103kg in the snatch and 120kg in the clean and jerk.
But although she helped Australia secure an Olympic women's weightlifting spot through its team success, she was ranked third individually.
Only one Olympic place is on offer this weekend.
"I need to lift 11kg more on Saturday than I did in Samoa to get the spot," Acason said.
"I need to beat what the other two girls do, so it's a bit of a pressure situation now."
When Acason steps on to the platform at 4pm on Saturday, she'll be boosted by being in familiar surroundings - she trains regularly at the Chandler venue.
However, a limited preparation and responsibilities as a first-time mum have tested her.
Being away from elite competition for so long, she was unable to match her personal best lifts of 113kg (snatch) and 140kg (clean and jerk) in Samoa.
"I felt quite nervous in Samoa," the 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist said.
Acason also dropped to 88.5kg, when she likes to compete in 75+kg division weighing 91-92kg.
"I know I'm not at my best and it's just taken a little bit longer after Eva (was born last year)," she said.
However, time this week with husband Josh and Eva has helped settle the competitor for this weekend's championships.
"I'm feeling a lot more relaxed being at home," she said.
"Above everything else, I'm just really glad someone from Australia will be representing us.
"I know I'm capable. I've just got to get fired up."
While her Olympic dream flickers, Acason remains determined. "At the end of the day, I do the sport because I love it and that's what I've got to keep remembering," she said.