Get behind our athletes on the Gold Coast!

2018 Commonwealth Games

Go behind this scenes with the Melbourne University athletes who’ll be competing and cheer them on!

Competition schedule

lisa

Lisa Weightman

Birthday: 16 January

Coach: Prof. Dick Telford

Event: Marathon

Club: Melbourne University Athletics Club

Personal Best: Marathon, 2:25:15, London, 2017 (MUAC Record). Half Marathon, 69:00, Gold Coast, 2010 (MUAC Record).

Lisa Weightman has developed into the fastest modern-day female marathoner in Australia and has led a resurgence in the event over the last five years.

Lisa was a good junior distance runner, gaining places over 3000m at the national junior championships.
But during her teenage years, she had battled stress fractures in the tibia. Into her early 20s, she was a steady national level track runner from 1500m to 10,000m and cross country athlete. In 2006, aged 27, she was selected for the World Road Running Championships and the following year the World Cross Country Championships. In early 2008 she made a very impressive marathon debut, clocking 2:32.22 at the London Marathon. The performance earned her selection for the Beijing Olympics where she placed 33rd. In 2009 she started the year with 17th at the World Cross Country Championships ahead of lowering her PB to 2:30.42 and placing an excellent 17th at the World Championships. In 2010 she ran her first sub-2:30 marathon, winning Nagano in 2:28.48. She closed the year with a bronze medal in the Delhi Commonwealth Games marathon.

At her second Olympics, she placed 17th in London in a PB time of 2:27.32. It was the highest placing by an Australia at the Olympics for 12 years. In the Melbourne Marathon in 2013 she sliced 87 seconds from her PB clocking 2:26.05, to become the fifth fastest in Australian history. In 2014, she took a maternity break, giving birth to a son Peter. She ran her next marathon in January 2016 and clocked 2:27.25 in Houston, to earn selection for the Rio Olympic Games where she placed 31st. She ran two high-quality marathons in 2017. Starting with a PB 2:25.15 in London, elevating her to number three Australian all-time. In October she ran 2:28.45 for sixth in Chicago, her 13th marathon of her career.

In January 2018 she was selected to compete in her second Commonwealth games. Ten years and two days after she made her marathon debut in 2008, Lisa will run her 14th career marathon in a career which has included three Olympics and a bronze medal in the 2010 Commonwealth Games. The third fastest in Australian history, she has clocked eight sub-2:30 marathons. The 39-year-old, who celebrated her birthday in January, becomes the oldest Australian woman to compete in athletics at the Commonwealth Games. When the gun fires she will be aged 39 years and 89 days, older than the late Kerryn McCann who was 38 years and 321 days when she won gold in the marathon in Melbourne in 2006.

In 2015, Lisa and her employer, IBM, created a software application called Optimal Me. It was developed to analyse data about what Lisa eats, how she feels, her rest, when she trains, and other factors of life as an athlete. Her father, Peter Weightman was a player, coach and administratorer in the VFL/AFL at clubs Fitzroy, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and Carlton.

 

baden

Joel Baden

Birthday: 1stFebruary

Coach: Sandro Bisetto

Event: High Jump

Club: Melbourne University Athletics Club

Student: Melbourne University, Bachelor of Science

Personal Best: 2.29m, Melbourne, 2014 & 2016 (MUAC Record)

 

Between 16 and 18-years, Baden’s best gradually rose from 2.12 to 2.20m. It earned him a berth at the 2014 IAAF world juniors where he made the final. Seemingly his first experience on the international stage spurred him on as three months later, at a schoolboy meet in Melbourne, he cleared an extraordinary 2.29m. This clearance delivered him a qualifier for the 2015 IAAF world championships where as a teenager he performed well clearing 2.26m and was just one height short of a finals berth. During the 2015/16 domestic season, he managed a best of 2.24m and placed second at the nationals. He required 2.29m to qualify for Rio, a height he achieved in late June in Cairns. In Rio, he cleared 2.17m in the qualifying rounds. He won the 2017 Australian Championships with a modest 2.18m.

A strong domestic season for Baden with two 2.20m leaps and a 2.24m clearance. The defending national champion placed equal second at the Australian Championships with a height of 2.21m and was named in the Australian team for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Baden is coached by Sandro Bisetto who guided Australia’s finest ever high jumper, Olympic bronze medallist and national record holder Tim Forsyth.

 

majula

 

Manjula Wijesekara

 

Birthday: 30thJanuary

Coach: Sandro Bisetto

Club: Melbourne University Athletics Club

Event: High Jump

Personal Best: 2.27m

Wijesekara is the Sri Lankan High Jump record holder and seven time national champion. Twice he’s won the Asian Championship and he finished 9that the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.  He studied economics at the University of Southern California and took out the 2018 Victorian Open High Jump Championship over squad mate and 2018 Commonwealth Games competitor Joel Baden. After a strong summer of training at the Rawlinson he’s hoping to break his own national record on the Gold Coast.

 

david

 

David McNeill

Birthday: 6thOctober

Coach: Nic Bideau

Student: Melbourne University, Doctor of Physiotherapy

Club: Old Xaverians Athletics Club

Event: 5000m, 10000m

Personal Best: 5000m, 13:18.60, Heudsen, 2012, 10000m, 27:45.01, Stanford, 2015

After missing qualification for the 2015 World Championships 10,000m by 0.01 seconds, David McNeill secured selection for Rio 2016 by running a 10,000m qualifying time in the USA in May 2015 and then winning Zatopek in December. This was his second Games after competing in the 5,000m at London 2012. In Rio, he placed 16th in a good time of 27:51.71. He became the only Australian ever to run under 28 minutes at the Olympic Games.

David has had a long and successful career in the green and gold. He first represented at the 2004 Commonwealth Youth Games and in the ensuing years has competed at two Olympics, four World Cross Country Championships, a Commonwealth Games and a World Championships.

In pursuit of Commonwealth Games selection, David McNeill placed an excellent third in the 10,000m at Zatopek, which doubled as the Australian selection trial, in December 2017. With selection not certain, he focused on the national 5000m championship in February and ran his best time for six years (13:19.51) in oppressive humid conditions to place second in his first A qualifier and secured automatic Commonwealth Games selection. He was also named in the team for the 10,000m.

McNeill is a self-proclaimed foodie and cooking enthusiast. He once baked a cake that Jamie Oliver liked and retweeted on Twitter. He has been a vegetarian most of his life and more recently, a pescatarian. He has a Bachelor of Science & Exercise Science from Northern Arizona University (2007 – 2010) and Master of Science in Exercise Physiology – Northern Arizona University (2012-2014). His grandfather John McNeill was the 1939 Victoria state champion in Australia in the long jump and triple jump.

 

jemima

Jemima Montag

Birthday: 15thFebrurary

Coach: Brent Vallance

Student: Melbourne University, Bachelor of Science

Club: Maccabi Athletic Club

Event: 20km Walk

Personal Best: 1:31:26, Adelaide, 2018

She started little athletics at Brighton in under 8s. “I very quickly realised that I certainly had slow twitch muscle fibres, as I was absolutely shocking at any jumps and throws (couldn’t get over the high jump warm up height to save myself).” With her endurance capacity, she found her way to the walks. “I really enjoyed the challenge of such a technical endurance event.” In her teens she was recording impressive achievements, winning national junior/age titles. At aged 16, in 2014, she won the national junior/under-20 10000m walk title. The performance secured selection for the IAAF World Race Walking Championship where she performed admirably placing 12th in the 48-person field. In the team event Australia won bronze. “This was a very
special experience and I certainly remember some happy tears when we walked up onto the podium in our green and gold tracksuits and the medals were placed around our necks.” In 2015 she competed at the IAAF World Youth (U18) Championships and was again very competitive with 11th place and was honoured with a co-captain role. She resisted the graduation to the 20km walk, until December 2017, just two months before her twentieth birthday. She debuted with a Commonwealth Games qualifying mark of 1:34.18 and became the 17th fastest Australian in history. The next month, she sliced two minutes from her 10,000m track walk PB clocking 46:18.42. On to the Commonwealth Games trials and a week short of her twentieth birthday she was outstanding placing second in 1:31.26 (9th fastest all-time) and securing automatic selection for the Games.

Jemima is studying a Bachelor of Science with an immunology major at Melbourne Uni. She also works at The Fruit Box Group as a research assistant for their new Corporate Social Responsibility project, which delivers 40,000 free boxes of fruit, veg, milk and bread to food insecure families in Melbourne and Sydney.
Her hobbies include cooking for family/friends (see @wellnesswarriorz), musical instruments (classical on piano, jazz on trumpet), learning languages, travelling, public speaking/debating and braiding hair. Her height is 1.58m and has not changed since she was about 12. She admires Steve Solomon. “He will confidently walk up to you with a friendly smile and really make you feel as if he’s happy to see you and that he’s genuinely interested in what you’ve got to say. He’s a fantastic role model.” Steve will be a team mate of hers on the Commonwealth Games team.

 

team