Weightlifting is the glory sport, the Olympic sport where all you have to do is lift one weight above your head. The heaviest one you can. Powerlifting is its forgotten cousin.
Requiring not one, but three lifts – the squat, bench press and deadlift totals are added together to find a powerlifting champion.
Despite its lesser-known status, the Kāpiti Powerlifting Club is churning out success with three members attending the World Powerlifting Championships in Calgary, Canada, earlier this month, coming away as world champions.
Attending was Alison Fitzmaurice who won gold in the masters 50-55 100+kg women’s and won silver in the open class 100+kg, Graeme Boyce who won gold in the M4 55-59 105+kg, and Riria Ropata who won gold in open division 100+kg category.
Riria also won the best overall female lifter in 109+kg category and biggest squat, bench and deadlift lift.
Attending their third international competition together all three world champions credited Kāpiti Powerlifting Club at 318 Fitness in Paraparaumu with inspiring them in the sport.
“We are blessed to train in a great environment with a community who backs you all the way,” Alison said.
“318 is more of a family than a gym and we are very grateful for that. We are also lucky to have a lot of friends and family who help us fundraise to get to our events as this sport is totally self-funded.
“I am a two-times Oceania champion but this was far more nerve-racking. I was hoping to win as if you don’t want to win there’s no point competing.
“I feel ecstatic and blessed about the win. I do it for the camaraderie and buzz but also to try and be healthy.”
“It’s a great, very supportive community,” Riria said.
“I enjoy the training, it always pushes me and I’m always setting new goals.”
Lifting 212kg in the squat, 103kg in the bench press and 220kg in the deadlift, Riria won gold for the highest score and also lifted the most in each lift, winning best squat, best bench press, and best deadlift.
“It’s still sinking in, this is my first international win.
“Powerlifting is not an Olympic sport so this is it, the world championships.
“It’s awesome that I managed to come away with the win, with the title.”
Originally going to the competition in a coach/manager role, Graeme decided to enter, winning gold in the masters 55-59 age group category.
“I returned to the sport in 2013 after a long break and was happy with the win as I have been injured most of this year.
“It was a pretty good showing all-round.”
“Our local community board has been fantastic in always helping us with community grants and I just want to thank the Paraparaumu/Raumati community board for their belief in us,” Alison said.
“We have three world champions now in our club and that is a very big thing that we are very proud of.”