Ellington eyes Commonwealth Games weightlifting berth
Having committed himself fully to the sport of weightlifting, former Wolmer’s Boys’ School thrower Soneil Ellington is hoping to increase the sport’s profile locally by representing Jamaica in the next Commonwealth Games.
Ellington, 23 years old, is in training, aspiring to qualify for the 2022 Games, scheduled to take place in Birmingham, England.
He says that his goal is part of the Jamaica Weightlifting Federation’s overall strategy of international exposure for athletes. With his eye set on the 102kg class, he says that he is pleased with how well he has adapted to the demands of the sport and credits this to his athletic background while he was at Wolmer’s Boys.
“It wasn’t a difficult transition into the sport because I’ve done several sports over the years. And I’ve excelled at all of them. It wasn’t an issue. I trained hard and it has led to me where I am now,” Ellington told The Gleaner.
He said that the establishment of the federation in January was critical to beginning the road that he hopes will lead to Birmingham. James Daley is another athlete who has hopes of qualifying, and Ellington says that they are awaiting the opportunity to display their skills.
“We haven’t proven ourselves yet, but once we get our first international competition out of the way, I’m sure all doubts will be removed,” Ellington said.
Ellington’s path towards England includes plans to travel to Panama in January or February 2021, where he has been invited by their weightlifting federation to a camp to improve his skills. He is excited about the opportunity to improve his craft.
“It will be good for me because I will be surrounded by other Olympians and some of the best coaches in the world,” he said. “It’s going to be an excellent experience, and I think it’s going to be very pivotal in my development as an athlete.”
That development may include competitions in the United States in 2021, depending on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. He was scheduled to compete in his first set of competitions in the Caribbean later this year, but that was cancelled because of the pandemic.
Despite the inactivity, Ellington says that he has benefited from the layoff and has seen better results in his training. With the sport seeking to expand its reach locally, he says that he is grateful for the support so far to make his dream a reality.
“It’s new to the country,” he said. “I’m the third or fourth athlete that has ever been registered for the sport in the country. However, I think I [can] have a big enough impact to change things in the country,” Ellington said.