Spotlight: Charisma Amoe Tarrant
The Narangba Valley High School Alumni and Tokyo Olympian is dubbed Australia's strongest woman and is thankful her Uncle tricked her into trying a new sport.
Charisma's Uncle, a coach in weightlifting, spotted her potential when she was an 11-year-old training at the gym for the Shot Put team. When the other participants were lifting 25 kg, Charisma quickly transitioned from lifting 30kg to 65 kg that day.
“He made a deal that I stay and train [for weightlifting] for a week, and if I hated it, he wouldn't bother me anymore. I ended up loving the sport four days into it.”
Her Uncle then tricked her into returning for another weightlifting session the following day. That's when she discovered a passion for weightlifting that has led her to the Olympics and two Commonwealth Games medals.
"He made a deal that I stay and train [for weightlifting] for a week, and if I hated it, he wouldn't bother me anymore. I ended up loving the sport four days into it."
Graduating from Narangba Valley High in 2016, Charisma travelled to New Caledonia to train for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, where she snagged a silver medal in the Women's 90+kg event and in 2021, she competed in the Tokyo Olympics representing her birth country Nauru.
Her medal-winning success continued in August this year at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, where she won a Bronze Medal in the Women's 87+kg Final, lifting 127Kg and 139Kg in the Clean and Jerk. The win was even more impressive, given the intense pressure on her to bring home a medal and the fact that she carried an injury going into the Games.
"I've had these injuries since the Tokyo Olympics, so the mentality towards training was draining. There were so many moments when I wanted to stop because of my knee. It was sad for me at the same time because the weights I do now, I could do more, but my injuries are preventing me from doing so."
Despite injuries impacting her performance, Charisma's attitude to handling the intense pressure of elite competitions is remarkably level-headed, "With me, I just go with the flow at comps. Whatever results I put up on the platform, I just do my best and hopefully don't bomb out."
Recalling her Gold Coast Commonwealth silver medal-winning performance, Charisma admits, "That's all I ever think about. The feeling, the pressure… I was told that I must win a medal, which I didn't think was possible since I only had 6 months of preparation. The next thing I knew, I was on the stands. Definitely memorable and a top achievement so far."
It is little surprise Charisma's identifies a fellow Australian weightlifter, Eileen Cikamatana as the greatest influence on her sporting career.
"Watching her lifts always puts me in a good mood. She is also someone I talk to when things are getting hectic, or when I'm at my lowest too. She inspires me every time I watch her lift and I just honestly can't wait to see her performance at the Paris Olympics."
Will Australia see Charisma competing in Paris? "My first goal is to look for work and also get my knee and elbow checked and hopefully just heal,' she says pragmatically. Her journey of humble perseverance and dedication is bound to be inspirational for other students who wish to try a new sport or activity, because as Charisma emphasizes, "I got this far because of the time and effort I put into this sport."