True Ipswich champion can cherish Aussie flag, five medals
AFTER creating history just making her fifth Commonwealth Games, Deb Acason knew winning another medal was a long shot.
However, the Ipswich allrounder completed her latest international competition with the determination and class she has always shown.
Against a backdrop of controversy surrounding transgender opponent Laurel Hubbard, the 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist matched her performance in Glasgow four years ago.
She again finished fourth in the 90+kg division at the Carrara sports complex, totalling 226kg from her 101kg snatch lift and 125kg effort in the clean and jerk.
Had she totalled the 245kg she did in the 75+kg class in Delhi, she would have won the silver medal today.
Having New Zealander Hubbard withdraw from the competition with an elbow injury after trying to lift too much also kept Acason briefly in the hunt for another bronze medal, like she achieved at those 2010 Delhi Games.
However, Acason can return to Ipswich having accomplished more than most dream of during a Commonwealth Games career.
She won three silver medals at her first Games in Manchester 16 years ago.
Before completing her medal set with bronze in Delhi, she reached her sporting pinnacle at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.
She shed tears of joy and sorrow after clinching her first gold medal.
Before another "home'' crowd in 2006, the raw emotion was in honour of her grandparents Geoffrey and Melody who had passed away.
Geoffrey died just before her Melbourne competition and Deb got to carry the coffin with an Australian flag on it.
Melody passed away just before the Manchester Games four years earlier.
"I'm going to bawl my eyes out,'' Deb told me, as a proud Ipswichian speaking to her in the Games mixed zone.
"The last thing I remember is the Australian flag (that adorned her grandfather's coffin).
"I'm sorry. I'm in shock.''
She was exhausted.
She later collected her gold medal for her 75kg division deeds, having been cheered on in the crowd by good cycling friends Anna and Kerrie Meares.
Preparing for the latest Games as Australia's most successful women's lifter, 34-year-old Acason was more relaxed and realistic.
She had to battle dehydration scares in the six weeks leading up to the Games.
She also seriously injured her back two years ago, being advised to undergo surgery. But as she couldn't afford the $12,000, she had to forgo that treatment, which would have given her a boost in a sport requiring extra strength.
Carrying the Queen's Baton before the Games and completing her latest competition underlined what the former athlete, cyclist and rugby player is all about. She never quits.
"It's very special,'' Acason said as she prepared to compete in what is most likely her final Commonwealth Games.
"It's bit funny because a few people have thought I'm a coach but I'm competing here. But yeah, it's amazing to have been part of history in 2002 when women's weightlifting made its debut at the Comm Games.
"This time it's been about enjoying the training as it could be the last time I do it.''
While much of the talk today was about Hubbard, Acason was a true champion of the sport.
Forging her career in Ipswich, moving to Miles for a short stint and returning to her favourite city typified her commitment.
The personality, emotion-charged mother of two young children is an inspiration to so many others in Ipswich and wherever she has travelled.