Commonwealth Games weightlifter has the world on his shoulders

The wait is almost over: Ridge Barredo will make his Commonwealth Games debut next month. Picture: Simon Bennett
The wait is almost over: Ridge Barredo will make his Commonwealth Games debut next month. Picture: Simon Bennett

He may rest his head on a pillow in the Sutherland Shire, but make no mistake Macarthur residents – Ridge Barredo is one also of ours.

A talented rugby league player and basketballer, the 22-year-old's finest sporting achievement will arise next month.

Three years ago the Menai local made the shift from cross fit to weightlifting and has perfected his technique at the Leumeah-based Aphesis Barbell Club.

It was a move that has reaped him a green and gold uniform and an unexpected place in the Australian 2018 Commonwealth Games team.

“I started weightlifting after doing cross fit for three years because the weightlifting side was something I was excelled in,” he said.

“I did it because I had fun. But I only realised that I could make the Commonwealth Games team around the end of 2016. That’s when I started training for it seriously.”

Barredo will head to the April Gold Coast games ranked fifth in the 94kg-105kg class.

The games requires the weightlifters to perform several clean and jerks (a two stage lift) and snatches (a lift in one continuous motion), with the combined total from the best two lifts determining the winner.

Barredo’s personal best lifts are 147kg for the snatch and 190kg for the clean and jerk.

He said a slight improvement would secure him a medal.

“If I can hit 150kg and 193kg I’ll be on the podium,” he said.

Being athletically blessed is one thing. But like most elite sportspeople, it’s dedication and sacrifice that separates the pretenders from the contenders like Barredo.

Simple pleasures like chocolate have been shunned in the quest for games glory.

“I stay away from saturated fats and processed foods, and eat pretty clean – veggies, meat and carbohydrates,” he said.

“But I don’t each much chocolate so I'll be missing out on Easter this year which is a shame. It’s first one in 20 years but you have to make sacrifices.”

While his postal address reads Menai, the Commonwealth Games debutant said he considered Macarthur a home away from home.

“I’m here at Aphesis six days a week and go to university around the corner (at Western Sydney University). Since I’ve been here I’ve got to know there area and the people pretty well so I do consider myself an import local,” he said.

“I’ve grown close with everyone out here – they're like family.”

The wait is almost over: Ridge Barredo will make his Commonwealth Games debut next month. Picture: Simon Bennett

The wait is almost over: Ridge Barredo will make his Commonwealth Games debut next month. Picture: Simon Bennett