The Weightlifting Team for Glasgow 2014 was announced last week, Tracey Lambrechs, Mathew Madsen and Saxon Gregory-Hunt talk to us about what it means to be selected to represent New Zealand.
1. How does wearing the Silver Fern give you strength?
Tracey: Wearing the Silver fern gives me strength knowing that I have the whole country behind me, supporting and cheering for me every step of the of the way. We are a small nation but a very competitive, strong and proud nation. To be a part of that is just amazing experience and very motivational.
Mathew: When reflecting back on how much the Silver Fern means to our country, it’s a great honour to step out on that international platform with that silver fern on your chest. Personally, I think of all the great champions (mostly Weightlifters) who have worn the silver fern before me and I strive to be better and show why I deserve to wear it.
Saxon: I've grown up my whole life watching people who i think of as amazing talents (whether that be sports people or anything) and they have all been wearing the silver fern, now its my turn to wear the silver fern, and i feel like I'm getting towards their level!
2. What does representing New Zealand mean for you?
Tracey: Representing NZ for me is an a dream come true. Being able to represent and be competitive on the international stage is a feeling I cannot begin to explain. It makes all my sacrifice, pain, blood, sweat and tears worthwhile. Not only am I representing my country but I am representing my friends and family too
Mathew: I find it an absolute privilege to be selected within your chosen sport to represent my country. I feel like it gives you an extra edge when you are out their representing New Zealand, so I am really excited to represent the country at my first Commonwealth Games and give everything when lifting on that platform.
Saxon: I've represented NZ a lot over the past few years and its always great to think back to your mates at home, your training partners, your coaches, your family and the fact that you are wearing their countries name on your back!
3. What are 3 attributes that every Weightlifter needs?
Tracey: Strong Mind, Big heart, Commitment
Mathew: A few key attributes I believe that can help a weightlifter are mental toughness and being independent. As a lifter, you go into the gym everyday to lift weights above your head and train numerous sessions a week to maybe add a kilo to your lifts or total within a month. So I believe you have to be able to get through the tough times and keep grinding through. Plus everyday it’s you and that bar, you are trying to beat yourself and increase your previous best. You are alone on that platform when lifting; make or miss there is no one else to blame. In terms of physical attributes, I think a weightlifter needs to have decent flexibility to get into certain positions while performing the Olympic movements.
Saxon: Hard to define three attributes that every good weightlifter needs because every sports person goes about their sport in a different way, but I believe for myself to be good I need a clear head (be determined that i want to succeed), I need to be tough (know that i am tough and capable of putting the work in) and finally be accepting of success by not just yourself but also by others, and your own failure.
4. How did you get into the sport?
Tracey: At the time I was playing Division 1 Netball and representing NZ in athletics. My athletics coach thought that both my Netball and Athletics would benefit from some extra strength and conditioning. I started training with the NorthSport Club and never left. I enjoyed the structure and made some very good friends within the sport who encouraged me to continue and eventually focus only on doing weightlifting and achieving the potential that the coaches saw in me.
Mathew: My dad was a former New Zealand powerlifting, so grew up seeing people lifting weights in my downstairs gym. Since I was small for my age when younger, he thought I should try Weightlifting since I compete against people the same bodyweight and I have loved it since.
Saxon: I was invited to try weightlifting by a couple of mates in my school gym (chch boys high school) and was taken on board by my coach Terry Hughes.
4. My inspirational thought?
Tracey: No matter how many times I get knocked down, no matter how many times I break or get broken, I will get back up and I will be the best!
Mathew: “Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams, you decide if your dream becomes reality”
Saxon: "Its possible, you can do this and you know you can!"