It’s been a challenging 12 months for Australian weightlifting legend Damon Kelly, but the enticement competing in front of family and friends on the Gold Coast next year is keeping the Delhi 2010 gold medallist focussed.
Brisbane based Damon has been named in a Commonwealth Games Australia shadow weightlifting team for next year’s Commonwealth Games, and will now set about meeting the nomination criteria.
I was fortunate enough to compete at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, which was an awesome experience
When the Gold Coast was announced as the 2018 host it made me super keen to want to experience that feeling again.
This time it will be even closer to home. It will give a chance for my family and friends to watch me compete at the highest level.
Missing qualification for the Rio Olympics was a major blow for the 105kg category lifter, who turned 33 in December, who admits there were times he considered drawing the curtain on his career.
It was a tough time after missing out on Rio, but the carrot of the Gold Coast Games kept me going along.
Damon has the full set of Commonwealth Games medals - gold from Delhi 2010, silver from Melbourne 2006 and bronze from Glasgow in 2014.
A lot has changed for Damon in recent years. He now has two young boys, and has just recently started full time work with a Queensland builder which, while helping pay the bills, is also creating new training and competition challenges.
It's going to take some time to adjust to a new work and training timetable.
I hope to do that soon and build up to the National Championships and then Commonwealth Championships, ultimately leading to the selection trials and, if all goes to plan, the Commonwealth Games in April 2018.