Cameroon-born weightlifter Simplice Ribouem will get his chance to lift for Olympic glory in Rio after being selected to make his Olympic debut on the 2016 Team.
Ribouem, who lifted for his home country at the 2006 Commonwealth Games before seeking asylum in Australia, overcame great odds to earn his Olympic nomination. He spent 2015 battling malaria, with the Australian Open in December 2016 the first time he had lifted even close to full fitness in more than a year.
Ribouem, who won gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and an unlucky silver four years later in Glasgow, shot to the top of the selection table with an eye-catching performance at December's Australian Open where he lifted 5kg higher than the Rio qualifier of 346 in the 94kg division.
Ribouem, coached by Yourik Sarkisian for the past six years, faced tough competition from dual Olympian Damon Kelly and Rio hopeful Francois Etoundi for the spot but cemented his position at the Oceania Championships in Fiji in May lifting 335kg.
Ribouem has two children, 4 and 3, who are often cheering him on as he trains at a gym in suburban Melbourne.
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Elwood, VIC, Australia
- Rio 2016 will be debut
- 2nd (94kg) - 2016 Oceania Championships (Suva, Fiji)
- 1st (94kg) - 2015 Australian Open (Brisbane, Australia)
- 1st (94kg) - 2015 Nationals (Melbourne, Australia) - competed as a guest
- 2nd (94kg) - 2014 Commonwealth Games (Glasgow, Scotland)
- 1st (94kg) - 2014 Commonwealth Championships
- Securing the Rio Olympic spot at the Oceania Championships in Fiji.
- Winning the gold medal in the U/85kg class at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
- Winning silver at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014.
- Trade School (Cameroon)
- Cert III in civil construction plan
Yourik Sarkisian (2010 - current)
Hawthorn Weightlifting Club
Primary Training Base
Hawthorn Weightlifting Club Melbourne, Australia
Secondary Training Base
Victorian Institute Of Sport
- Favourite holiday destination
- Favourite music
- Hip Hop/Rap
- Dream car
- Dodge Callenger
- Personal Motto
- That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger
- I would spend my last $10 on
- Phone credit to call my family
- If I could try another Olympic sport it would be
- Most Inspiring Olympic Performance?
- Ilya Ilyin (-105kg, Kazakhstan)
- First Olympic Memory?
- 1996 Olympic Games where Pyrros Dimas -85kg won Gold and two world records
- Most Influential person in your career/life
- My Father
- Why this sport?
- My Family and the enjoyment of the sport