Alyce Stephenson
Alyce Stephenson Gary Huntress

'Weird one' Alyce maintaining strict diet as big day arrives

IT IS not hard to spot Alyce Stephenson at the Athlete's Village cafeteria.

"I'm the weird one with the scales," she said with a laugh.

Stephenson, a surgical nurse at Ipswich Hospital, takes her strict diet and weight condition in her stride. She is surprisingly relaxed less than 24 hours before her Commonwealth Games debut.

The weightlifter, who will be one of the first Australian athletes in competition tomorrow, must weigh-in at 48kg tomorrow morning to be allowed to compete.

With a walking weight of 52kg, Stephenson is dependent on a dietician and discipline ahead of her competition.

"I was about 50 when I got into camp so I've got a dietician who sends me what to eat," the 27-year-old said.

"This morning I was 48.3kg so I'm feeling confident."

Stephenson's entry to weightlifting was accidental.

The nurse was part of an aerialist 'lyra' and 'tissu' duo with twin sister Emma, and took up weight training to build strength.

Her rigorous training regime bordered on obsession, a dedication which allowed Stephenson to compete five qualifying events throughout 2017, including the main Commonwealth Games trials in December.

She was second to Tegan Napper in the 48kg division, but Napper's decision to contest the 53kg division opened the door for Stephenson.

She doesn't have her heart set on a medal of any colour - to win one would be the ultimate bonus - but she is driven to set a personal record.

"I'm trying to keep busy, I'm not thinking about it too much, but I'm more excited than anything," she said.

"I've done all I can, I've done all the preparation.

"My goal is a personal best, whether that's one kilo or 10. I just want to lift my best ever.

"I'm not focussing on (medals), I've only had a brief look at the start list."

India's Chanu Saikhom Mirabai, who won gold at last year's world championships and Commonwealth Championships and silver at Glasgow, shapes as the favourite for gold.

Papua New Guinean Thelma Toua, whose sister Dika represented PNG at four Olympics and won gold in the 53kg division at Glasgow, and Sri Lankan Dinusha Gomes are expected to be among the leaders.

While many have helped Stephenson on her path to the Carrara Sports Arena, where the final will start at 2.12pm, she made special mention of her Ipswich Hospital colleagues for their contribution.

"I have to shout-out to surgical 4F," she said. "They did a fundraiser to get me here and allowed me to take time off to compete. I couldn't have done it without them."



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