Win for young weightlifter

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Onwards and upwards . . . Otago weightlifter Owen Webb trains for the national championships, which will be held in Dunedin in October. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON

Owen Webb has lifted his way to another national title.

The 18-year-old competed in the New Zealand secondary schools weightlifting championships, winning the over-15 under-69kg class with a total of 192kg.

Webb snatched 87kg and managed 105kg in the clean-and-jerk.

He was pleased with his efforts in the snatch, but was disappointed with his clean-and-jerk.

His best clean-and-jerk is 111kg and he felt his form on the day was “pretty poor”.

But it was enough for him to secure the title.

The secondary school championships were held over two weekends, one for upper North Island competitors and one for and lower North Island and South Island competitors.

The lower North Island and South Island event, held in Wellington, came first, so Webb had to wait until the results of the upper North Island event before he found out he had won.

Webb won the over-15 under-62kg class last year and had hoped he could achieve back-to-back wins.

He moved up a weight class this year and felt like he had done enough to win.

The Kavanagh College pupil has been weightlifting for about four years and took up the sport after seeing Commonwealth Games events.

He trains at the Otago Weightlifting Club after school and does strength training at a gym before school.

Webb’s focus now will turn to the national junior and senior championships in October.

“Hopefully, I can take out the junior class .. [and] can knock off a senior and get a bronze.”

The championships will be held in Dunedin for the first time in about 40 years.

Otago Weightlifting Club manager Shanaya Allan put in a successful bid for Dunedin to host the event, and hopes it will attract about 120 competitors.

The championships act as a Commonwealth Games qualifier, so the country’s best weightlifters will be competing.

It will be held over three days in the More FM Arena at the Edgar Centre and comprise 10 different sessions.

The sport was growing “so quickly” in all grades, from secondary school athletes, such as Webb, to the masters class, Allan said.

“Each year there’s more and more competitors.

She hoped to have about 10 Otago weightlifters compete in the national championship and said many had been working hard to qualify.

The event was the main focus for many weightlifters, she said.

Entries for the national championships close this weekend.