Going for gold!
It is said that dynamite comes in small packages, but none have proved it quite like Indonesian-born Sahari Thatcher (50) did on Tuesday when she made a clean sweep at the first-ever virtual World Masters Weightlifting Championship of 2021. She not only won an international gold medal, but unofficially broke three records right here in Mbombela.
Indonesian-born Sahari Thatcher (50), who settled in the Lowveld in March 2013, made a clean sweep at the first-ever virtual World Masters Weightlifting Championship of 2021.
The event was run by the masters committee in cooperation with the USA Weightlifting Federation, and saw 900 athletes from 62 countries strut their stuff in their own backyard. Thatcher took part at the Nelsparta Weightlifting Club at Central Park, Mbombela.
She, despite weighing in at only 43,3 kilograms on the day, won her age category hands down by making three successful snatches, starting with 39 kilograms and ending with 45 kilograms, and three clean and jerks, starting with 55 and ending with 60. This not only won her the title, but she unofficially smashed three world records in the process.
The previous snatching record from 2006 stood at 28 kilograms for her age division, and the clean and jerk record was 40 kilograms. She battered the former by 17 kilograms and the latter by 20 kilograms. Thatcher's combined weight, 105 kilograms in both these events, is not only 30 kilograms above qualifying weight for the 2022 World Masters Games in Kansai, Japan, but enough to secure another record for her total.
Her journey as a weightlifter started when she approached her now coach, Ruhan Koekemoer, in 2017 to pursue CrossFit training though he suggested weightlifting instead. "I saw the potential and she thought I was out of my mind. She entered her first competition and snatched 15 kilograms, and clean and jerked 25 kilograms. In the SA championships hosted in Mbombela, Thatcher snatched 40 kilograms and clean and jerked 40 kilograms," he said. "This made her realise that she was a weightlifter."
Since then, here is what she achieved:
• SAMWF Championship - 2017: ninth place
• Celebration of lifting - 2018: gold medal and South Africa national colours
• Arnold Africa Classic - 2018: gold medal and world championship qualifier
• World Championship - Barcelona: 2018 - international silver medal
• SAMWF Championship - 2018: gold medal and world championship qualifier
• Celebration of lifting - 2019: gold medal and world championship qualifier
• SA vs Australia Team Challenge - 2019: invited as guest lifter, gold medal
• Arnold Africa Classic - 2019: gold medal, three SA records and best female master lifter
• World Championship, Montreal - 2019: international gold medal and three world records
• SAMWF Championship - 2019: gold medal and world championship qualifier, SAMWF 2019 best female lifter, three new official SA records, three new unofficial world records
• SAMWF Championship - 2020: gold medal and world championship qualifier, SAMWF 2020 best female lifter, two new official SA records and three new unofficial world records
• 1610 Lift-Off: gold medal and three SA records.