The 2015 Pacific Games and Oceania Championships is one trip I won’t forget anytime soon! The competition, hosted in Papa New Guinea, can be described in many words… however one which stands above the rest is ‘hot’!

Papa New Guinea was the New Zealand team’s home for nine days and we were impressed with the facilities, accommodation and the kindness of the people who helped us. For me personally, this trip was a memorable one as I was announced as the New Zealand flag bearer at the New Zealand High Commission. It’s fair to say the experience was a little overwhelming, especially when my team mates broke into a haka for me. I can’t express the pride I felt for myself, the weightlifters and my country.

I definitely didn’t think I could be any more proud, but was proved wrong the night of the opening ceremony…  When it came time to carry the flag into a packed stadium, the crowd was going crazy. On stage, in front of roughly 15,000 people, our weightlifters performed a haka, so full of passion and pride it bought tears to my eyes.  On the bus ride home I knew the team were going to get the job done and make us proud.

Then it was time for the ‘business’ end of the trip. Training was challenging with heat of up to 30 degrees, however it was made a little easier having the support of our large weightlifting team.  My training sessions were good and I felt ready to compete, but there was a fair amount of time to wait until it was my turn to compete.

I enjoyed watching the lifting, especially when our very own Charlotte Moss, (AUT Millennium Scholarship Athlete), won the 1st ever Pacific Games medal for New Zealand. The whole New Zealand team did amazingly well with nearly every athlete medalling. I came into the competition ranked third, something I was not particularly happy about, but I knew I hadn’t yet hit my peak since coming back from surgery.

Warm ups went well, but the competition didn’t go to plan. I was happy to walk away with four Silvers, but disappointed I wasn’t able to lift more.  My coach Adam Storey and I have sat down and dissected my performance, so when World Championships roll around in November I’ll be able to compete like I know I can and not leave thinking “what if?”

‘So, what now?’ After a light week of movement/active recovery I’m back into serious training, building up for the NZ Weightlifting National Championships to be held in Wellington in October. From there I will continue my preparation for the World Championships in Houston, USA in November.