A YOUNG Bendigo weightlifter is continuing her rapid rise up the ranks in her sport.
Competing at the Victorian Junior, Youth and Under-15 Weightlifting Championships last month, Annabelle Harwood won dual gold medals in the youth (under-17) and junior (under-20) sections.
The wins qualified the 16-year-old for the Australian championships in Sydney in July.
She hopes the nationals will be a stepping stone to selection in the Australian team to compete overseas in Malaysia at the end of the year.
"The 150 (kg) total for my age and category meant I would qualify to represent Australia, whether that be in Malaysia or another competition coming up in November," Harwood said.
"(But) it's a long shot because there is another girl, similar age and weight, who is lifting a little bot more than me which is frustrating.
"She's been weightlifting since she was about 11 and she's my age now. I've only been doing it just over 12 months."
Harwood, whose combined best total of 150kg is three kilograms below her rival, conceded everything would “nearly have to go perfect” in Sydney for her to force her way into the national team.
But regardless of whether she represents Australia this year, Harwood said she was stoked with her development in the past year.
"It's a bit surprising - but it's been hard work," she said.
"I'll train three main days of the week with my coach (Troy Hewkins), and then on those same days I'll go home and do a little bit more.
"It's basically six sessions across those three days.
"It doesn't feel like it's that hard when I am at the gym because there are other people around - but I do it because it's fun and enjoyable."
Harwood is no stranger to success.
She won a gold medal at her very first competition last July at the Victorian School Weightlifting Championships.
She followed up with a second place last November in the 63kg class at the Victorian Senior Weightlifting Championships.
The event in Melbourne was her first at senior level.
Harwood will next year step up to full-time junior competition.
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