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Weightlifters Maddison Power and Jett Gaffney added to Youth Olympic Team

16 August 2018

BUENOS AIRES 2018: With a surname like Power, you would expect nothing less from selected Youth Olympic Games (YOG) weightlifter Maddison Power. 

The 15-year-old has been selected to represent Australia at Buenos Aires 2018 alongside fellow weightlifter Jett Gaffney. 

Today’s selection announcement takes the total Australian Youth Olympic Games Team to 82 young athletes across 23 sports, with three sports still waiting selection. 

Living up to her name, Power won her place at YOG by completing lifts that she hadn’t even practiced at training yet! 

“The last three competitions leading into the end of the qualification period were very challenging. I had to cut weight and try and make up for the fact that my first comp didn’t go to plan,” Power said. 

“After that first comp, I ended up behind another competitor, so from then on, I had to open each of my competition lifts on my previous PB’s and then attempt lifts on the platform that I hadn’t even tried at training. 

“I had to trust in my coach, my training and my own ability, as YOG had been my goal for the last 12 months, so I needed to put it all on the line. 

“I am grateful for my competitor, as competing against her for a place at YOG really helped me to push my limits and achieve more than I knew I could.” 

Jett Gaffney pulled-off a similarly impressive feat, adding over 50kgs to his personal best and competing “in the dark.” 

“I knew from the 2017 Oceania Championships that I was in contention to represent Australia at YOG, but I had to add an enormous 42kgs to my best total at the time,” he said. 

“I actually ended up adding 57kgs to my total, which was a really unexpected bonus. 

Jett 1

“When I got to the final qualifying events in July this year, I was in third position up against two great youth weightlifters.  

“They were both in heavier bodyweight categories, which meant I would lift first in every event. The downside of that was that I was “lifting in the dark” because they knew before they competed, exactly what they needed to lift to beat me.  

“That’s when the nerves really started to kick in, because if I lifted too heavy I could miss my lifts, but if I didn’t lift enough, it would be easier for them to overtake me. 

Power started lifting weights at 12 years old and now she is Australia’s number one ranked female Youth Lifter, breaking Junior State and National records and scoring a YOG qualifying percentage of 119% (142kg total for 53kg bodyweight category). 

“I started weightlifting when I was 12 after being involved in a Crossfit for kids program. From there I joined my local weightlifting club and really fell in love with the sport, competing in my first competition – an U15’s State Championship and placing third, before I continued on to U15’s Nationals and placed first,” Power said. 

“I really enjoy the challenge of the technical lifts and the feelings of getting stronger under the bar. I love that you have to push yourself to give 100% every training session if you want to get better. 

“Nothing beats the feeling of getting a new PB, especially on the competition platform,” the driven year nine student said. 

Gaffney started his weightlifting journey as a nine-year-old, after following in his older brother’s footsteps. 

As soon as he could lift 15kgs he was already working towards competing at Junior Nationals.  

He says weightlifting was never a hobby for him, deciding after his first lift that it would be something he was going to pursue professionally. 

“I always took weightlifting seriously, as I was competing as soon as I could lift 15kgs, so by the time I competed in my first Junior National event, I was already hooked.” 

The 15-year old also has a unique thirst-quenching ritual he believes gives him a bit of an edge when competing. 

“I have a superstition when it comes to competing. After having to cut weight before comps, you have a limited amount of food you can eat during the week prior, so on the day of a comp, I get a can of Coke,” he said. 

“I drink 1/3 before the snatch section and then 2/3 before the clean and jerks. Every time I have done this so far, I have performed better than expected, but that's just my tradition."

You can learn more about the YOG squad HERE

Liana Buratti

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