Weightlifting Team out to lift for champs

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Eight Otago weightlifters are hoping to score personal bests, as well as a medal or two, at the New Zealand Olympic Weightlifting Championship this weekend.  The team of six men (Josh Homersham, Marco Mollo, Callan Helms, Robert Jordan, Jiro Ishida and Owen Webb) and two women (Leigh Martel and Amanda Gould) will compete in Auckland at the three-day event.  Otago Amateur Weightlifting Association president Callan Helms said while he expected some lifters to come home with a medal, others were going for the experience. “I expect the junior guys to go really, really well. One of our senior women, Amanda Gould, will be chasing medals as well.” They were all aiming for personal bests, he said. Helms said there were fewer women in the team than last year but the men were getting stronger. “We have a couple of newer people. The younger guys have come through the ranks and are now able to come to nationals.” While many of the team have gone before, this weekend will be the first time Webb and Mollo compete at the national championship. Helms said to qualify for the national championship, each lifter had to lift a total weight depending on the weight grade they were in. ‘‘It’s acombined weight from the snatch and the clean and jerk. You have to hit a certain weight from that combined total.” A team of nine Otago lifters won five medals at the championship last year. The 2016 New Zealand Olympic Weightlifting Championship will be held from tomorrow to Sunday in Auckland.