The OWNZ Secondary Schools Championships are locked in for this coming weekend with a bit of a different format than normal.
There will be four locations hosting their own in-person competition around the country. The results of each will then be collated to crown the Secondary Schools champions.
The locations are:
Due to Auckland going back into lockdown, the city will be hosting its segment of the championships on the 27th of September while the rest of the country will carry on as planned on the 29th of August. All results will be kept confidential until after the Auckland segment of the championships to ensure it stays as fair as possible for everyone participating.
Out of the 101 lifters on the preliminary start-list (44 female and 57 male), 60% of lifters are based in the Auckland region. This goes to show much of an impact Auckland and the clubs up north can have on this growing sport of ours.
New Zealand has a very strong and talented young group rising through the ranks, and this weekend they have the opportunity to show us what they’re made of.
The preliminary start-list has been released so we now have a good idea of how the competition will shake out.
Who to watch (female)
Olivia is an under 15, 59kg lifter out of Sancta Maria College in Auckland. McFarland has a massive entry total of 140kg but we saw her last year at Senior Nationals unofficially break two Oceania Youth records with a 66kg snatch and 147kg total. For an under 15 lifter to be breaking Youth Oceania records she must be incredibly talented. Olivia is likely to take the gold in the 59s despite being one of the youngest in the field.
Also out of Auckland, Faith is a young star on the rise. With the biggest entry total in her 71kg weight class, Faith is undoubtedly a lifter you need to keep on your radar. Faith’s best lifts are 65/75kg, which she completed earlier this year. This puts her in the top-ranked youth position in the 71s. Faith’s closest competitor, Sienna Fesolai, will not be competing unfortunately. This would have made for a thrilling live contest as they are both based in the Auckland region.
Miniah, out of Whanganui, has listed the biggest entry total of the female competition at 170kg. Even though this is the largest total, this is still a very low entry total for Miniah. A couple months ago, Miniah totaled a massive 184kg and since then we have seen her snatch 85kg on her Instagram which is 1kg more than her competition best. It’s safe to say Miniah looks in form, and could be playing some mind games with her competitors by entering such a low total.
Who to watch (male)
On the males side of the competition there are a lot of great young lifters taking the platform.
Shirley Boys High School in Christchurch has a few lifters to keep an eye on — particularly in the 61s.
Ryan Baars and Jake Beaumont
Ryan (under 15) and Jake (youth) are both 61s and look to excel in their respected age groups.
We saw Jake hit some big lifts during the North & South Island Postal competitions: a 75kg snatch and 92kg clean & jerk. This makes his entry total of 160kg look quite low but, as we all know, live comps are very different to online.
Johan is a kid that can never be left out of the conversations. Coming out of Christchurch as well, this 73kg lifter is so far in front of the rest of the field. Johan snatched 100kg and clean & jerked 129kg during the postal. Johan will certainly be a force in years to come.
Patrick is probably one of the most impressive young weightlifters in New Zealand at the moment. Based in Otago (he will be competing in the Dunedin region) Patrick is an incredibly humble but talented young lifter with a big future in the sport.
He lifted a 255kg total in the 102 weight class during the postal and says he’s had a great peak week leading into this championship. Being in one of the least populated competition regions, it could be tough for a lifter to get primed for what is typically one of the biggest comps of the year.
“A competition is still a competition; you still have to approach it as if the event was as big as one big competition where everyone gathers,” Patrick explained to The Weightlifting Platform.
There is so much potential for thrills and spills we’re disappointed we won’t be able to see some of NZ’s best lifters go head to head on the same platform. But that’s life in 2020.
Be sure to check back in here for full results and a recap of the event after the Auckland region has completed their competition at the end of September.
Photo credit to Olympic Weightlifting New Zealand