The future of Jewish weightlifting is looking very strong, with Melbourne teens Layla Bloom and Ashley Kolomoisky both achieving outstanding results at the 2022 Australian Junior and U23 Weightlifting Championships, in Perth late last month.
This is the fourth year since 17-year-old Bloom – the current Maccabi Victoria Junior Sportswoman of the Year – began training and competing in the sport, and it’s clearly her best.
In June, she represented Australia at the Weightlifting World Youth Championships in Mexico, coming 14th overall in the female 64kg (F64) bodyweight division, and in July she was Australia’s only athlete in the open women’s weightlifting tournament at the Maccabiah Games in Israel.
Yet, due to the pandemic, she was yet to compete at a national championship until now.
Bloom not only won the overall F64 competition in a quality field of eight, but nailed PBs of 70kg in the snatch, 96kg in the clean & jerk (C&J), and 166kg for total weight lifted, setting new Victorian youth and junior records, and one U23 record (C&J).
While runner-up and West Australian entrant Samantha Walker matched Bloom in the snatch, it was the C&J result that proved the difference, with Walker only clearing 78kg.
Bloom told The AJN, “I lifted the best I ever have in competition, with significant improvement in my technique”.
“I thank my coaches [at Phoenix Weightlifting Club, and Miles Wydall from Cougars Weightlifting in Brisbane] for helping me with that, as well as developing a good recovery and nutrition routine.
“I was so proud to be able to lift a 96kg C&J, as I hadn’t even lifted that in training.”
Adding, “Representing our community gives me a lot of pride,” Bloom said she’d learned, as a young gymnast, to be calm and focused when competing, which is serving her well in big weightlifting tournaments.
“Competing on an international stage [this year] has further helped me to be adaptable to the competition environment, and motivated me to reach new levels.”
Kolomoisky, 16, also transitioned from gymnastics and CrossFit into weightlifting, but more recently than Bloom.
She was still representing Victoria in gymnastics until early 2020, but discovered CrossFit, and then weightlifting, through a close friend, and then found a welcoming environment to thrive in at Melbourne West Barbell Club, under coach Caity Haniver.
In her nationals debut, Kolomoisky came second overall in a 12-strong F59 field – beaten only by 22-year-old Queenslander Kayla Miller-Gorce – and first in the F59 youth (U20) category.
Her lifts of 60kg (snatch), 78kg (C&J), and 138kg (total), were PBs, and new F59 Victorian youth records.
She told The AJN, “I came to Perth not thinking I’d get a [podium] placing, so I was surprised to do so well, but after completing my first lift, I felt I did have the potential.
“I’m a very competitive person by nature, and I love the adrenaline of doing a PB lift, but it’s the sense of community at my club that I love the most.”