Jordan Sakkas will come again in four years, but his sixth-place finish means Wales will leave the Commonwealth Games without a weightlifting medal for the first time in 64 years.
Sakkas offered no excuses for a disappointing performance as a total of 328kg left him 27kg shy of the podium in the men’s 109kg final and meant his team will depart Birmingham without a medallist for the first time since the Games were held in his hometown of Cardiff in 1958.
Wales have won over half a century of medals in the sport, but the class of 2022 were unable to get anywhere near the heroics of Gareth Evans who bagged his country’s first Gold Coast gold four years ago.
“It was a difficult comp for me, it just wasn’t my day,” said Sakkas, 23, who finished seventh in 2018.
“It’s one of those things that you have this expectation of yourself and sometimes you realise soon in your warm-up that your body is not responding quite the way you expect it to.
“Although I’m disappointed in my performance, I’m proud of what I was able to achieve on the day given my physical capacity.
“I’m not going to blame anything, I’ve worked incredibly hard, I’ve trained incredibly well. It’s just one of those things. Everything felt heavy.
“I gave it my absolute all and one thing I can’t be judged on is the effort I put into that competition.”
This summer, Team Wales, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, compromises of over 200 athletes, all vying for medal success.
Sakkas nearly crashed out at the first hurdle after twice failing to snatch 146kg before dialling into the passionate pocket of travelling support he had in the crowd to make it through to the clean and jerk.
Having snatched two kilograms short of his personal best, he attempted to propel himself up the rankings with a third jerk attempt of 190kg, one kilogram higher than he has ever hoisted above his head before but was forced to settle for his second lift of 182kg.
He said: “I certainly need to work on my snatch, that is obvious. And I need to build momentum into competitions because I feel like the next four years is going to be a really defining time in my career.
“All things considered that was my third best total ever in competitions. A massive shout out to all the friends and family that came to watch me, it means the absolute world.”
Sakkas is using his disappointment as fuel to light the fire for Victoria 2026 where he hopes to realise his dreams of standing on the top of the podium.
He added: “My goal as an athlete is to win the Commonwealth Games. It’s a difficult pill to swallow that these four years haven’t bred performance.
“This competition doesn’t define me, but it will be a pivotal moment in shaping the next four years so that doesn’t happen again.”
There is little for Team Wales’ weightlifting team to celebrate as they return across the Severn Bridge with an unwanted record.
But at least Sakkas, who revealed he enjoys boozing when not pumping iron in the gym, did not have to go far for his preferred pint of lager with lime as the NEC’s Wetherspoons sits barely 50 metres away from the weightlifting hall.
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