Commonwealth Powerlifting Champs 2017 - South Africa

November 25, 2017

Team NZ Dinner Potchefstroom (Missing: Jade & (Gerry Took the pic and left) resting for comp, Matt and Delwyn Already left).


Road To The Comp


It took a while for me to get excited about going to South Africa, I think it was right up until the night before we left that it hit me, “oh snap we going now, maybe I should pack”.   I am going to skip pass the travel to get there by just saying it sucked and felt like it was never ending. It could have been worse if I was alone, but luckily I had two of my athletes with me, Brendon & Gerry who provided some good entertainment. So we finally land on the 5th of September giving us eight days before Brendon competes and ten days before Gerry competes. I Felt like this was a good enough time for the boys to settle in and get the jet lag out of their systems and climatise to the weather. So we settled into our hotel and the first two days were literally just keeping busy so we stay awake. Third day in we found a gym to get our first training in and remind the body what we are here for. Brendon was feeling the worst and he’s first session did not feel great at all, again it was he’s first international comp so he hadn’t taken into account the travel, climate, food, and everything else that comes with traveling and competing. Now for the first three days even though we have been training and moving around, we were fighting the midday sleep gods so badly that on the fourth day we gave in. Crumbled and had a midday sleep.


So we finally on our way to the comp venue in Potchefstroom, and decided that why not make a day of it and visit some local places and some historic places, by this I mean the late Nelson Mandela’s house in Soweto. To be honest with you we had no clue we were going there. Next thing we in the middle of Soweto thanks to my cousin Yash. What an experience this was to walk in the GREAT Nelson Mandela’s house. I got goosebumps as we wondered through the house and the yard where there had actually recordings playing about the violence and struggles during the times of apartheid, bullet holes on the walls, if you closed your eyes and listened to the voices you could almost feel it in the air, a truly unreal experience. After this we did the tourist thing and bought some goods from the local arts and crafts markets, it would be rude not to.


Game Time


So we arrived in Potchesftroom and I was not expecting it to be this quiet, it felt like I was in a scene from the walking dead or I am legend. Sunday 2pm and everything is closed, there is a deadly silence as we walk the streets. At this point I am thinking to myself is the zombie apocalypse actually happening???. We finally find our accommodation which wasn’t to bad to be honest with you, a nice little country club setting so I was happy with that and away from any zombies. We then go to the comp venue to have a look around, and we spot the ferns. The excitement in my eyes to see fellow team mates and familiar faces was similar to when I first held a girls hand. Being in a foreign country or place where you don’t know many people, this happens to you so seeing team mates made me want to loose my shit “IT’S ABOUT TO GO DOWN’ (Kevin Hart’s voice).  The lifting stage was amazing and pretty big so I think when the guys seen that it hit them and slowly got them into comp mode. The first two days we relaxed and got familiar with our surroundings (not much to be honest) as it was Brendon who was first up on the Wednesday.



Bendan Chaithoo U23KG Junior


Weighed in at a massive 51.25kg’s and feeling great. First up squat, the opener at 145kg’s and that went up with ease, second attempt 155kg’s (just over 3 times bodyweight)  which moved with a constant speed and didn’t give him too much trouble, but it made him work for it. Third attempt we go for the Commonwealth record of 160.5kg’s, which unfortunately did not happen. Just not strong enough on the day, he will crack that soon. He was disappointed in not getting that lift but he had to gather himself and focus on bench which was next. Warm up feeling good and we open on 97.5kg’s which was easy and got that three white lights and set the mark. Second attempt 102.5kg’s (double bodyweight), three white lights but again he worked for it. Third attempt we go for 107.5kg’s and he came out the groove and it got the better of him. Onto deadlifts and he is slowly fatiguing, the heat is defiantly not helping as well. So we warm up and get to 100kg’s and he’s back starts playing up. Now I can see the emotions in he’s face and he is starting to worry because this back issue has been bugging him for a while. I try my best to calm him down and the support from fellow Kiwi team mates were unbelievable. so we get our opener of 175kg’s ( 3.4 times bodyweight),  out of the way and he was in pain. So we make the call and go straight for the Commonwealth record of 190.5kg’s (3.7 times bodyweight). We summoned every god possible for that lift and reminded him why he is there. He zoned out and numbed out from everything, he went up on that plat form and pulled with everything he had. Three white lights and new Commonwealth record. We had to scratch the third lift as he’s back was not playing ball at all.  All in all it was the best he could have done on the day and come away with four gold medals, four national records, and two commonwealth records. 



Summary of Results


Gerry Huang U83KG Open



Gerry has been there from day one but very silent, we call him the silent assassin. He was taking in everything that was to offer from the time we landed and when we arrived at the comp venue. Slowly settling in and getting ready for he’s big day. We came to the venue well prepared and ready to get some big numbers, feeling confident. He’s class had some tough comp and was going to be a fight to the end thats for sure. Comp morning he weighed in at 82.7kg’s which was perfectly fine.  It was an early start, a 6am weigh in, which gave the guys a two hour gap to eat and warm up. Warm up went well with the weights moving well. In he’s last warm up there was a slight hesitation in the movement, but knowing Gerry he will have a bad lift and then be perfectly fine. Opener of 225kg’s and he failed. I am in complete shock as this weight is something he would do for at least three reps. So we go out for the second attempt with a no lift on depth. Third attempt he wants 232.5kg’s, so we go for it as this is still very comfy for Gerry, he fails the lift.

Both me and Gerry are in complete shock, what just happened out there??? Due to no lift in the the squat he is out of the comp in regards for any placings, puts him in DQ. Now at this point he is disappointed, apologetic, and every other feeling possible. He knows he’s comp is over and he travelled all that way for it so it felt like it was a waste of time. Myself and other Kiwi team mates remind him that he can still lift in the bench and deadlift. He continues to do so but mentally he was gone, and thats totally acceptable. Especially when you not sure what just happened and why it didn’t go to plan, you have all kinds of thoughts going through your head so trying to keep focus when that is the first time you have ever missed a squat… you can imagine how hard it must have been. I applaud him for continuing all the way to the end and giving it whatever he had left in him.



Team New Zealand


Now I missed Matt and Delwyn lift on the first few days as we were trying to settle in. I do believe Delwyn set a new commonwealth record in the M2 72kg class for bench press and taken the gold medal in the bench only category, and Matt finishing second in he’s class for the bench only category. So well done to the two of them and I am sure they will continue to take out places on the podium. Now the new number one female lifter in the country Amanda Foulkes absolutely destroyed it out there, and she is such a cool calm and collected individual. While she was lifting we were getting ready for Brendon to lift straight after her. So I got to see videos of her lifts which were amazing considering she only weighed just over 51kg’s. You will see a lot more from her as she is bound to get stronger and keep her competitors off her back. Tommy Coleman was on the Thursday and I got to handle him. He managed to get a comp squat PB which was good for him, and bench was going well until the last lift the spotter took too much of the bar that set him off. Lesson from that is always tell the spotter what you want even though they done it in the previous two lifts. Again deadlifts went well and the last lift just got the better of him. With minor adjustment and work he will smash it at the next comp. I must say he is a very calm lifter.

We managed to watch Chloe Graham lift and for me the highlight was her third attempt on the deadlift which would have probably put her on the podium for a bronze medal (based on what the commentator said). I have never screamed so loud before where my voiced broke and re-broke in the same lift. The fight and determination to get that weight up was unreal. She got it up but due to technical faults she got red lights, but she knows she can move that weight now. However we did not get to watch Jade and Brydie as we had already left the venue to head back home. They both took places on the Podium and brought home a bunch of medals as well, so well done girls.



Team NZ Summary of Medals




A team of nine lifters managed to haul a total of 19 medals, commonwealth records, national records, and we had the best looking soft suit. I think we do pretty damn well on the world stage (not just in rugby).




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