“The best lifters in the world had to start somewhere,” gym owner Dan Dakis says.
He’s just hosted an entry-level competition and said it was great to see newcomers to the sport of powerlifting having a go.
About 20 competitors completed their heaviest attempts in squats, bench press and deadlifts in front of a crowd of about 30 friends and supporters.
“It's such a personal sport, but everyone's efforts are bolstered by the group so you get these new lifters empowered by everyone whose come before them,” Dakis said.
Dakis said there was a massively varied field of entries on Saturday, with 10-year-old Bella Tsogas, while Ian took part and is in his 60s.
“I truly believe that weightlifting is for everyone, no matter the age, weight or any other variable,” he said.
“Bella wasn’t there to push big weights, but be part of the community and Ian has been lifting for years, but is still getting stronger.”
Meanwhile, Aaron Gorsch and Troy Wilson provided some of the biggest lifts in personal best efforts.
Wilson said he narrowly missed a personal best in the squat, managing to lift 190kg, but missing out on a movement tecnicality.
Gorsch lifted 185kg in the squat, while both bench pressed nearly 140kg and were able to deadlift more than 200kg.
Some of the best for female competitors included Nerae Peters, who benched 65kg, while Jess Ford did a 93kg squat during the contest.
Dakis has been a national competitor and has been training for a number of years and said he still loved watching the progress in motion.
“I love it, it's great to see the patience pay off with a personal best lift on the day.”
He said powerlifting was a “long-game” sport that takes time to develop, but provides people both the physical strength and confidence to express their ability.
“When you see someone who is hitting some heavier numbers there can be months or years leading to that point, it’s invaluable to me to see people putting in that effort.”
He encourages anyone considering the sport to give it a go.
“I re-iterate, all the big lifters started somewhere and these competitions are the place to start,” Dakis said.
“Anyone has the capacity to go on and be the best in the sport, It all starts with stepping up and having a go.
“I believe in every lifter that is willing to try because you just never know [until you do it].”
Dakis hosts a number of competitions at the Iron Stronghold in Pambula’s industrial estate.
For anyone interested in taking up the sport, you can contact coach Dan Dakis on 0428 753 024.