O'Neill's a tonne-of-a-gun
By STEVE SPINKS firstname.lastname@example.org BALLINA powerlifter Luke O'Neill almost lifted one tonne in the recent Oceania Powerlifting Championships at Southern Cross K-12 School gymnasium recently.
O'Neill managed to lift a combined 900kg in his three lifts, the first time ever by a local powerlifter.
O'Neill shifted a massive 375kg in the squat, 220kg in the bench press and 305kg in the deadlift.
The Ballina athlete has been training with local enthusiast Ron Birch in his Power Gym at Skennars Head for seven years.
Because of his effort, O'Neill is now rated one of the best lifters in Australia.
He is now in training for the World Championships later this year.
Meanwhile, young clubmate Damien Sironen set a world Under-15 bench press record of 110kg at the same event.
He beat the former record by 10kg which was held by an American lifter.
Besides being a great lifter, Sironen is also a talented rugby league player and is a member of the Gold Coast Titans youth development squad.
Club coach Birch set four world records in the 60-64 years age group.
He shifted 220kg in the squat, 160kg in the bench press and 210kg in the deadlift to compile a 580kg total.
Birch beat the former world record by 27kg in total weight lifted.
Other locals to perform well included Matt Stenzel, who claimed three National records; Isaac Kirby who just missed a world record in the bench press in his age group of 163kg.
James Plumb achieved some personal best lifts and Jess Berry won his weight class in the 15-year-old division.
Local lifters will next compete at the Bench Press National Titles at Lithgow in June and then at the North Coast Open in July at Ballina.