Chandler Hoffman from NorthSport Olympic Weightlifting.
Chandler Hoffman from NorthSport Olympic Weightlifting.

This weekend’s North Island Championships are your chance to see the some of the country’s leading weightlifters in action, including Commonwealth Games gold medallist David Liti. The competition, held at AUT Millennium, doubles as Round 2 of the Rod Kennedy Team Series – where Auckland clubs can compete for prizemoney.

Rod Kennedy was an Executive Officer for Olympic Weightlifting Auckland (OWA), and is fondly remembered as one of the most supportive and passionate people involved in the sport. As someone who competed at masters level, winning a World Masters title in 1998, his commitment to the sport saw him bring efficiencies to OWA’s administration, as well as support and structure to schoolboy lifting. It’s fitting that the Auckland club teams competition is named in his honour, as a tribute to his contribution to the sport.

AUT Millennium’s Property and Operations Manager Chris Olney is also a former New Zealand weightlifting representative. Chris is involved in all events AUT Millennium hosts, but he does have an added interest in the lifting events. “I knew Rod well, he very supportive of me as an athlete, and it’s nice to have this series in his honour,” Chris says. “The competition is three rounds, where Auckland clubs enter male and female teams to earn points, and ultimately, prizemoney for their club.”

Current OWA President and Rod Kennedy Competition Secretary, Tina Ball, is pulling double duty over the weekend. As the Director and Head Coach of Strength HQ, she will have a vested interest in the performance of her club’s lifters, but with her OWA hat on, she’s looking forward to a competitive event. “North Islands is one of two events on the calendar where athletes get to compete against the wider weightlifting community,” she shares. “It allows athletes to experience and practice warmup strategies, and develop a better understanding of the rules and processes used at championship competitions.” This is especially important for any lifters hoping to compete at higher levels, as North Islands is a qualifying event for the New Zealand Nationals in November.

How weightlifting competitions work

Each lifter must complete two lifts, the snatch and the clean and jerk, in that order. Each athlete is allowed three attempts at each lift, and the overall total is determined by the highest successful lift in each category. “This is where the strategy and mind games come in,” Chris explains. “Lifters can see the entry totals their competitors have registered, and can use all three attempts to change their weights in response. There’s a big screen so the audience can see what’s happening, and the MC helps to build the atmosphere around how close the competition is.”

With the Rod Kennedy Competition running alongside North Islands, it is structured so the totals achieved by lifters in their club’s Kennedy team will count towards their team total, and also be their individual total for the North Islands competition.

What are you weighting for?

If you’ve never been to a weightlifting event before, please come along – entry is free!

“If you want to see fast and accurate lifting, come and see the lighter guys,” Chris says. “The ladies always have really good technique, and of course, if you want to see the big weights, come and see the heavier guys on Sunday afternoon.” Tina encourages first-timers to be inspired by the feats of lifters, no matter their size. “Strong isn’t a size!” she implores. “You will see some of New Zealand’s strongest men and women of all ages and sizes, including those seeking Olympic qualification. Watching them throw huge weights from the floor to overhead – there’s nothing like it!”

As an AUT Millennium Foundation Club, NorthSport Olympic Weightlifting will have home ground advantage, and you can support the following NorthSport lifters over the weekend:

  • Chandler Hoffman (67kg class) – a junior lifter looking to qualify for NZ National Champs as a Junior.
  • Henry Kang (67kg class) – a senior lifter seeking to medal at North Island Champs. Henry is an Auckland Champs bronze medallist.
  • Jaden Double (73kg class) – a junior lifter gaining experience competing at a championship event.
  • Bayley Garnham (89kg class) – a very talented junior lifter, aiming to qualify for his second National Championship.
  • Emilio Marquez de Prado (89kg class) – a masters lifter looking to improve his competition total before NZ Masters and Oceania/Commonwealth Masters Championships in June.
  • Leslie Chisholm (96kg class) – a senior lifter, has been battling injuries during his build up but confident of qualifying for nationals.
  • Iain Harris (96kg class) – a strong masters lifter, looking to break NZ Masters records in the Snatch and Clean and Jerk at this North Island Champs.
  • Ryan Barnido (96kg class) – a strong up and coming junior lifter looking to qualify for his first NZ National Champs.
  • Kelly McGowan (64kg class) – NZ Masters Champion 2018 and NZ Masters record holder in this class. Kelly is looking to build on last year’s performance before she departs to Oceania/Commonwealth Masters Championships in June.

When: Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 May
Where: Sports Hall, AUT Millennium
Time: Presentation of lifters begins at 8am each day, final session begins at 5.30pm.

To see the preliminary start list for the event, see Olympic Weightlifting Auckland’s Facebook page.

Previous articleA Family Affair
Next articleDon’t sleep on sleep
Heather is our Communications Manager here at AUT Millennium. With a BA/BCom from the University of Auckland and postgraduate qualification in communications, Heather honed her copywriting skills in the recruitment and tertiary industries. As a storyteller, she loves to share the inspirational stories of the AUT Millennium community. Her mood will greatly depend on the current (mis)fortunes of the BlackCaps and Warriors. [email protected]