Injury not a hurdle for Francis’ record

WEIGHTLIFTING: Kelsey Francis is in the midst of a purple patch of form, and she is confident that her best is yet to come.

The 17-year-old St Ursula’s College student has gone on a tear in recent months, with a gold medal effort at the Australian U17s Championships and breaking a Queensland record at the All Schools Championships.

Quite remarkably, Francis came into the stretch with a less than ideal preparation.

In a game of school soccer, she found herself on the wrong end of a tackle that threatened to derail her nationals campaign before it started.

Francis was struck down with ligament damage in a devastating blow that should’ve seen her watching on from the sidelines.

Such was her determination to put her hard work into practice, Francis pushed through the setback with her team at the Toowoomba Weightlifting Association.

“I did my ankle really bad. They thought I would need surgery and said I wouldn’t be able to weightlift for a few months, but I just decided to do it anyway,” she said.

“A girl kicked my ankle out while playing soccer. I ruptured two of the ligaments and tore another two.

“I did it about six weeks before nationals and they said I wouldn’t weightlift for about 18 weeks.

“I missed states (because of the injury). I wasn’t able to lift proper weights for the month afterwards, so we really only had two or three weeks of actual lifting, which was a bit difficult, but we got there.”

She did more than get there, producing a personal bests in all three categories to take out first place.

Francis produced scores of 54kg in the snatch and 67kg in the clean and jerk, giving her a total of 121kg, a personal best by 6kg.

She then went to another level at the All Schools Championships on the Gold Coast, breaking the state snatch (61kg) and total (136kg) records in the process.

“The snatch record was definitely in my sights, because I broke it at nationals before it was broken again at the same event,” she said.

“I was a bit annoyed at that, so I definitely wanted that one. I went a bit heavier in the clean and jerk, so I kind of broke the total record by accident.”

Not one for resting on her laurels, Francis has her sights set on breaking the Australian record at her next event.

“We’re dropping back the weights but there’s another club comp again in six weeks that we’re going to have another shot at those national records,” she said.

“The national record for the snatch is 65kg, a mark where I’ve got it above my head but missed it.

“National clean and jerk is at 81kg, and I got to 76kg on the weekend, so it’s not that far off.”