Path to Olympics runs through Frederick

Senior lifters pursue spots in U.S. trials set for July

Weightlifting

March 10, 2000|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

Top weightlifters from across the nation with hopes of competing in the Summer Olympics later this year in Sydney, Australia, are in Frederick for the USA Weightlifting National Championships today through Sunday.

This event is one of six used to qualify the U.S. Olympic weightlifting team for the 2000 Games, and it's the final opportunity for senior lifters to qualify for July's U.S. Olympic trials in New Orleans.

The first qualifying event was the World Championships, held in November in Athens, Greece, where the U.S. women's team finished sixth, earning the right for the United States to send a complete women's team of four athletes to the 2000 Games, where women's weightlifting will make its Olympic debut.

The U.S. men's team picked up two slots for the Games, but the International Weightlifting Federation could award two additional wild-card slots to the United States, bringing its total to four male lifters.

With only four positions available on the men's and women's U.S. teams, the competition to move into the top-four rankings will be fierce this weekend.

In the women's competition, 16-year-old Cheryl Haworth is expected to give a dominating performance. The Savannah, Ga., native was the only U.S. medalist at last November's World Championships, where she earned a bronze.

On the men's side, Wes Barnett is hoping to make his third Olympic team. Barnett, a double medalist at the 1997 World Championships, was unable to repeat his performance in 1998 when he failed to qualify because he was weakened by treatment for cancer.

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