Weightlifting: Father and son; pull their weight

Glenn Fisher

Knox News (Australia)
August 30, 2005 Tuesday

KNOX is set to be represented with a history-making combination at
the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Apart from Opals women’s basketball squad members Hollie Grima and
Samantha Richards, triple Olympian Russell Lavale and elite athlete
with a disability swimmer Rod Welsh, there are two other locals
desperately fighting for berths on the Australian team.

Rowville weightlifters Yurik and David Sarkisian are aiming to become
the first father and son combination to represent their country at
the same international competition.

Yurik is ranked number one in the country in the 62kg division and
number three in the 69kg division, while his 19-year-old son is ranked
number one in the 69kg division.

David has come a long way in a short time in the tough world of
weightlifting, winning last year’s Commonwealth Youth Games with an
overall total of 260kg, a total on which he improved by 15kg earlier
this year.

His 44-year-old father has won more than 600 medals in national and
international events, including a silver medal at the 1980 Moscow
Olympic Games when representing the former USSR.

After moving to Australia from Armenia in the early 1990s, Yurik has
gone on to represent his adopted country at the 1996 Atlanta and 2000
Sydney Olympics, as well as the 1998 and 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Wantirna teenager Welsh last year had an ambition to make the Athens
Paralympic team and win gold and he did so in fine style in freestyle,
backstroke and medley events.

Grima and Richards are two of the youngest members of the Opals’ squad.

The 190cm Grima is an integral part of the Knox Raiders in the
South-East Australian Basketball League, and the Bulleen Melbourne
Boomers in the Women’s National Basketball League.

The 170cm Richards played as a guard in Dandenong Rangers’ WNBL
championship victories in the past two years.

Lavale has three Olympic team uniforms hanging in his Boronia wardrobe.

And, as the current Australian men’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles
table tennis champion, the 31-year-old is well on target to slam his
way into the Games team.

Melbourne 2006 chief executive John Harnden last week wished the
athletes the best in their quest to make the 400-strong Australian

“August 27 marked 200 days to go until the spectacular opening ceremony
of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.

“This will be when the largest Australian team ever will march on to
the Melbourne Cricket Ground,” Mr Harnden told the Leader.

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