National weightlifter Scott Wong rewrote his own national record as he won the 105kg category yesterday at the Victorian Weightlifting Association Open & Masters Championships. The 25-year-old lifted 136kg (snatch) and 170kg (clean & jerk) for a combined total of 306kg at Melbourne's Eleiko Victorian Weightlifting Stadium and emerged victorious in the Open division among 19 male participants.
It was 16kg better than his previous best - the 127kg (S), 163kg (C&J) and 290kg total - at the British Students' Championships in London in April.
He said: "It's the first time I've completed six successful lifts and that 170kg clean & jerk came out of nowhere. There are lots of positives out of this competition for me."
The University of Manchester final-year medical student is a former national discus thrower who made the switch in 2013.
He returned to full training only in early February after finishing his exams and spent the last month in Australia working with his coach Yurik Sarkisyan. Wong said: "Physically, I felt strong but my technique was a bit rough and he's really helped with my technique.
"I missed only two lifts from hundreds of attempts here and that consistency is very encouraging."
His 306kg total is 6kg shy of the 2014 Commonwealth Games sixth-placed finisher's result - typically the qualifying mark used by the Singapore National Olympic Council for selection - and Wong believes he can improve even more.
He finished last of 12 competitors at the 2014 edition in Glasgow - Kiribati's David Katoatau won gold with a 348kg effort followed by Kiwi Stanislav Chalaev (341kg) and England's Ben Watson (337kg). But Wong is determined to challenge for a podium finish at the 2018 Games in Australia's Gold Coast.
Next year's SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur will feature weightlifting but only up to the 94kg class, ruling Wong out. He begins his housemanship in September and admitted that juggling hospital duties with training would be challenging.
He said: "It's a matter of managing my time and finding a balance. I believe it can be done."