Stu­dents seek­ing to make his­tory

Central Leader - - SPORT - By TOM CARNEGIE

Four up-and-com­ing weightlifters need help to make his­tory.

For the first time New Zealand has been in­vited to com­pete in the 2015 Pa­cific Games for weightlift­ing, be­ing held in Pa­pua New Guinea.

One Tree Hill Col­lege stu­dents An­thony Tay­lor, 18, David Liti, 18, and Dean Par, 15, all qual­i­fied to com­pete at the games through the Auck­land Cham­pi­onships on April 3.

The weightlifters train at Net­fit Olympic Weightlift­ing Club in Eller­slie and have come through its Olympic weightlift­ing pro­gramme.

All three ju­nior ath­letes are ranked the high­est in New Zealand for their classes.

An­thony and David com­pete in the ju­nior weight classes of 69kg and 105kg­plus re­spec­tively, while Dean com­petes in the 54kg youth di­vi­sion.

Ianne Guirnares, 27, has also qual­i­fied for the games. He is cur­rently New Zealand’s high­est ranked se­nior 62kg lifter.

Coach Tina Ball says her ath­letes have huge podium po­ten­tial, how­ever with no fund­ing the lifters and coaches need to raise $3600 each in or­der to gain this in­valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence.

The pro­gramme at Net­fit is free of charge for One Tree Hill Col­lege stu­dents to al­low them ac­cess to the com­pet­i­tive sport.

Ball says her ath­letes are all ex­tremely ded­i­cated and can train up to nine times a week.

‘‘They have to make a lot of sac­ri­fices. Be­ing young they have to choose to pri­ori­tise the sport over so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties and friends, which can be tough.’’

Ball says the long term goal is to get to the world cham­pi­onships and Olympic Games.

‘‘The more in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence they can get the bet­ter, so if they qual­ify for some­thing we try re­ally hard to get them there.’’ The Pa­cific Games begin on July 4 and in­cor­po­rate the 2015 Ocea­nia se­nior, ju­nior and youth weightlift­ing cham­pi­onships.

Ianne Guirnares is one of the first New Zealan­ders to qual­ify for the 2015 Pa­cific Games, but his team needs help get­ting there.

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