Powerlifter set to fly Aussie flag for over 60s
AT 62 YEARS of age, champion powerlifter Rod Wecker has quite literally put the gold into his golden years.
Now with his sights set on the Asia Pacific Championships this weekend, Mr Wecker is hoping to add even more fame to his name as the only Australian competitor in the over 60s Masters category.
He will be joined by coach and fellow competitor Leanne Knox as well as 40 other Australians who are set to take part in the three-day event in Hong Kong this weekend.
This includes one powerlifter who is set to compete in the over 80s category.
Mr Wecker's powerlifting debut began just three years ago in a bid to increase his fitness with the added bonus of strengthening his golf swing.
"We didn't even know what it was at the time, we were just at Leanne's gym in her shed with a few other people," he said.
While he now sees powerlifting as "a personal challenge", his stint in the sport has already brought him success, as he placed first in the Australian Masters Competition in Cairns earlier this year.
Mrs Knox also took out the top honour in her category of the Australian Masters Competition while winning best female overall lifter and breaking national records.
Her transition into powerlifting came after a successful career in Olympic weightlifting.
"I thought I'd like a different challenge so thought I'd do powerlifting," Mrs Knox said.
While the sports are quite similar, Mrs Knox found the biggest adjustment to be the high calibre of competition.
"When you get a little bit older it's still quite easy to build strength so a lot of world champions in powerlifting are in their 40s while most champion Olympic weightlifters are in their 20s," she said.
A more mature competitive field also meant that powerlifting has become a family affair.
Mrs Knox's 71-year-old mother became involved in the sport 18 months ago and has added more accolades to the family by breaking the deadlift national record for her age at the Australian Masters Competition.
"It's lifechanging because most 71-year-olds are home crocheting but my mum trains three times a week, she never misses it. She's so much more mobile and strong," she said.
While her mother will sit these championships out, Mrs Knox is competing in the 45-49-year-old Masters and the open Australian team and will coach Mr Wecker.
"Rod is a pleasure to coach because he's so relaxed. He's a very calm competitor but he's also very determined to the point where if he wants to do something, he'll just do it," Mrs Knox said.
"He's aiming to get the deadlift national record and I'm certain he's going to get it because he's done it in training several times."
Mrs Knox is aiming to achieve a personal best and break her own record in the back squat.
A testament to the fact that you're never too old to try something new, Mr Wecker encourages anyone not sure about the sport to "go down and give it a crack".
Mrs Knox also believes that powerlifting has benefits for people of all ages.
"I'm hoping to get more people involved. The more the merrier because it's life changing, it can add 10 years of quality life," she said.
The championship marks the last event in the World Powerlifting calendar.