Lauren Goldstone may have just started weightlifting, but she’s already making a name for herself.
At the College Sport Auckland Weightlifting Championships earlier this year – Lauren’s first ever competition – she placed top in her age group, coming away with the Under 14 Girls title. “Pleasantly surprised” and “surreal” were just a few of the words she used to describe this outstanding achievement.
“It was a pretty close competition, and the second placegetter was only a few points behind me,” says the ACG Parnell College Year 10 student. “The most challenging part was not actually the lifts themselves, but calming down my anxiety and stage fright. I knew that being nervous would not be great as it could potentially mess up my performance.”
For the uninitiated, weightlifting competitions are divided into two main events – the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk. Athletes have three attempts at each lift, and their top weights are combined to create their total score. The athlete with the highest total wins the competition. Lauren says patience, mental toughness, control, body awareness and mobility are all critical for success, not to mention plenty of training.
“I train twice a week after school. Often times I work on the techniques for my movements, and I do strength training as well. There are many things I appreciate about weightlifting. It’s a fascinating and technical sport, and being able to lift a weight that I previously couldn’t lift gives me a huge sense of satisfaction.
“On the flip side, though, it can be frustrating when you can’t get the technique right, or you can’t see any progress or gains. You just have to learn to trust the process because gains don’t happen overnight – they take time, patience and dedication. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
Lauren is one of just two students currently weightlifting for ACG Parnell College – the other is her 16-year-old sister Sienna!
“I started weightlifting at the beginning of this year, too,” says Sienna. “I’ve always been captivated by watching the Olympic weightlifters compete, and our dad does weightlifting, so he gave us the confidence to give it a try.”
A keen tennis player, footballer and CrossFit athlete, Sienna was drawn to the sport’s ability to build strength and agility.
“I thought it would benefit my other sports as I could implement the strength, fast movement and coordination I’ve developed into them.”
While Sienna loves the rush of adrenalin as she readies herself for a lift, her current focus is centred around perfecting the technicality of the Snatch. But, like her sister Lauren, she has the determination and mental grit to push through. And as PE teacher Morgan Page explains, the further the girls progress in the sport, the stronger those attributes will become.
“Weightlifting is a sport that helps our youth to develop mental strength and the ability to overcome challenges. And each of these qualities can be applied to all aspects of life,” says Morgan, a competitive weightlifter currently working towards the Senior New Zealand Weightlifting Nationals in November.
“To be a good weightlifter, you need commitment, consistency and patience. The technique takes a while to master, and some elite weightlifters are still consistently working on their technique. Weightlifters need to understand that it is a sport that you may not see progress straight away. However, it is a journey, and if you have the determination, you will begin to see results. Once you begin seeing progress and feel the thrill of competing and getting stronger, it becomes addictive.”
Morgan is passionate about growing the sport at ACG Parnell College – and with results like Lauren’s recent achievement, the school is putting itself firmly on the weightlifting map.
“I am extremely proud of Lauren. As her PE teacher and sharing a love for weightlifting myself, it was very special to witness her achievements at the College Sport Auckland Weightlifting Champs. It was a very significant milestone for Lauren and her progress in weightlifting. Taking the gold medal in her first weightlifting competition is great for her confidence in her abilities, and it shows this is only the beginning.”