Kia ora koutou katoa. My name is Ray Everest and I am absolutely ecstatic to be a content creator for The Weightlifting Platform. What I aim to do through this relationship is continue to bring information and news on what’s happening in the weightlifting scene in New Zealand, Aotearoa.
A key focus for me in New Zealand weightlifting is around accessibility. I’ve always wanted people to have access to the experiences that I was offered when I first got into the sport but on a greater scale.
Today we are close to 50 clubs with around 500-600 athletes and with a spread of close to 50-50 between males and females. We are seeing growth in all areas including Youth, Junior and Masters athletes and this warrants a platform that allows us to share the success and learning of our sport in New Zealand.
Currently the board for New Zealand Weightlifting has been working on plans to ensure that gyms can get back to action as soon as possible. We have been working with SportsNZ and creating a template that gyms can utilise to create action plans. The catch cry of our New Zealand government has been “play it safe”. With this in mind, we have set out recommendations around how we should get back to training and then, ultimately,the competition platform.
We are trying to be as transparent as possible as it is important for us to get back to the 4×4, however we must make sure that we are keeping our members safe and doing our part as a sport to ensure that the success and gains we have made as a country are not compromised.
One of the most exciting things has been how people have adapted during this period of lockdown in New Zealand. Garage gyms have become a massive focus and people have continued to train with some level of intensity, which bodes well for future competitions.
Gyms are offering Zoom sessions where teams can get together and train at certain times and I also ran a couple of Zoom competitions, which allowed athletes to bring a level of intensity to this training block from the safety of their home. I’m also part of the national organising committee, which is to be held down in the Bay of Plenty in mid-November, and we are really excited to roll out information about this event for our community.
It’s worth mentioning our Olympic hopefuls. It’s been awesome to see the likes of David Liti, Kanah Andrews-Nahu and Megan Gifford continuing to put in the hard yards during this strange time. Their Olympic dream stays at the forefront of their training and as such they have had a huge amount of support from their coaches and the weightlifting social media community in general.
It’s been inspiring to see the high level of intensity that they have been able to maintain during these circumstances. We are excited to see how they come out of this and how they move towards their Tokyo 2021 campaign.
Finally it’s worth mentioning that we have started a podcast called “Weightlifting Yarns”. The podcast intention is simple: to connect people from around New Zealand to a broad range of weightlifting individuals and communities, and to hear from the heroes of our sport as often as possible. We’ve been lucky to have New Zealand coaches and athletes, and we continue to look at ways we can build the product to become a premium platform for us to yarn about what’s making headlines in weightlifting — both here and around the world.
Finally, I would like to extend a huge mihi (thank you) to The Weightlifting Platform. I’m certain that we share the same passion for our sport and want to bring a polished product that is befitting of the growth and profile that our sport deserves.
Weightlifting is not an easy sport. Those who have been in the sport a while know that, and have felt the pain and frustration that our sport brings. Every day we continue to get under the bar. We push ourselves for that extra kilo, that extra rep and set, often for little or no recognition.
That’s where the challenge comes in for us. It’s telling the stories of everyday people who are involved in our sport; he stories of the club journeyman that turns up to every club comp and gives their all both on and off the platform; the aspiring national level athlete and the current international athlete that give the same effort and recognition to everyone no matter what weight they lift; the coach who gives up time away from the family and often away from their own training to support the needs and growth of others.
These stories deserve to be told and I, for one, am humbled and excited to be a part of building our Whakapapa, our story, for all involved in our sport.
Let’s bring on the future!