Nikita Parker (19), of Alexandra, has won silver at the South Island Olympic Weightlifting Championships held in Christchurch recently, lifting 140kg in the under-75kg weight class.
” For the silver I got a 63kg snatch and a 77kg clean and jerk, so they combine it to get your total, which was 140kg,” Parker said.
Olympic weightlifting was made up of two lifts – the snatch, lifting the barbell from the ground to over the head in one movement, and the clean and jerk, lifting the barbell from the floor to the shoulders, (the “clean”), then lifting the bar above the head (the “jerk”), Parker said.
She broke five Otago records at the championships.
“I broke all three junior records for the under-75kg weight class, and then two of the senior clean and jerk and total records for under-75kg, so I’m pretty happy with that.”
Parker began weightlifting at 14 as part of a women’s crossfit class her mother had joined.
“My mum was meant to do it but then she didn’t end up doing it, so she made me come along in her place and then I just carried on all through high school.”
“I liked the lifting side better than the cardio side so I decided to just switch to straight weightlifting.”
Parker moved to Dunedin last year and was studying for a Bachelor of Applied Science degree at Otago Polytechnic, while continuing her training at the Otago weightlifting club.
The main quality needed for a successful lift was focus, Parker said.
“You need to mentally be prepared to be able to lift it, clear your mind and not think ‘this is really heavy’.
“That is probably the hardest thing about this sport, is the mental side,” Parker said.
She had big goals for her weightlifting.
“I want to represent New Zealand eventually. It may take a few years but I’m working towards it.”
Her role models include Commonwealth Games gold medal winner Richard Patterson.
“I’ve done a few clinics with him and he has definitely helped me see that anything’s possible, and there is potential for anyone as long as they work hard enough.
“I just love the challenge – it is quite a challenge – and the thrill of lifting a lot of weight.
“It’s something different that I like. It’s different from what other people do. They don’t expect you would do it.”