Whitsunday Weightlifting athletes Jasper Hope, 17, and Emily Bennett, 14, are all smiles after their success at the 2019 Australian Under 15 and Youth Championships.
Whitsunday Weightlifting athletes Jasper Hope, 17, and Emily Bennett, 14, are all smiles after their success at the 2019 Australian Under 15 and Youth Championships. Shannen McDonald

Young stars out-muscle competitors at national comp

DON'T be fooled by their youth, because these athletes are out to break records.

Whitsunday Weightlifting athletes Jasper Hope and Emily Bennett competed in the 2019 Australian Under 15 and Youth Championships, where both lifters dominated.

The national championships finished an incredible year of competing, particularly for Jasper, who made a new Australian youth clean and jerk record at 145kg, Australian youth snatch record at 115kg and Australian youth total record of 260kg.

Weighing in at 87kg for the competition, Jasper's record-breaking spree landed him with the prestigious title of Best Youth Lifter Sinclair, which is a statistically derived award.

The dedicated 17-year-old said his goal was to reach the height of his age group ahead of his move from Youth up to the Junior category next year, after he turns 18 in January.

"I wanted to achieve best youth lifter, and I went into that competition feeling pretty good, but it was tough because the competition was held so late at night, so I'd be stressing all day,” Jasper said.

"But I just got out there and I went really well, so I guess I performed well under pressure.”

In only her third competition, 14-year-old Emily Bennett didn't let the nervous build-up to the national event stop her determination for progress.

POWERFUL PAIR: Coach Leanne Knox with youth lifters Jasper Hope, 17, and Emily Bennett, 14, who  returned from a successful campaign at the 2019 Australian under-15 and youth championships.
POWERFUL PAIR: Coach Leanne Knox with youth lifters Jasper Hope, 17, and Emily Bennett, 14, who returned from a successful campaign at the 2019 Australian under-15 and youth championships. Shannen McDonald

Emily smashed her previous personal best weight for her two lifts by 8kg combined, proving her size won't stop her making gains.

"I was pretty nervous heading into nationals,” she said.

"I thought it was a pretty big deal but once I got there, I realised it was just a bunch of girls lifting weights.

"I do get questioned about my ability in the sport because I am pretty small, but I don't really care, I just show them what I can do.”

Now that the 2019 competition season is over, Jasper and Emily will dedicate the coming months to building strength before focusing on the technical aspect of their lifts.

Next year Jasper will compete in the junior age group where he will have three years to add a total of 25kg to his lifts if he wants to be competitive on the world stage.

"Because I am fairly new to the sport, I still have room to make those large gains so I'll just keep training for the next three years and keep improving,” Jasper said.

"That's what keeps me motivated, are the gains and the qualifying for different competitions, like wanting to qualify for Junior Worlds.

"When I do qualify that will be exciting so that's why I keep going.”


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