Worth her weight in gold

Central Leader - - Sport - By Scott Mor­gan

Not many 15-year-olds can hoist more than their own body­weight above their head.

But New Zealand un­der-69kg weightlifter Stephanie McKen­zie is no or­di­nary teenager.

Stephanie’s best lifts in­clude 71kg in the snatch, which sees the lifter raise the bar from the floor to­wards the ceil­ing all in one mo­tion.

And she’s cleared 75kg in the clean and jerk, where the lifter rests the bar on their col­lar­bone be­fore the fi­nal push to get the bar above their head.

“I like the con­cen­tra­tion and the quiet, but then it’s ex­plo­sive. You get up there and have to beat it and you know you can.” There were school-age Olympians there that know how hard you train.”

Stephanie’s coach Tina Bell says her stu­dent has the tal­ent and men­tal for­ti­tude to go all the way to the Com­mon­wealth Games in 2010.

“It’s not the sort of sport you can rock up and do once a week. She has a lot of nat­u­ral strength and co­or­di­na­tion.”

If Stephanie is able to reach in­ter­na­tional hon­ours in cycling Ms Bell is con­fi­dent it won’t mean the end of weightlift­ing for her star pupil.

“Both sports com­ple­ment each other, so I guess it would come down to the Com­mon­wealth Games pro­gramme.”

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