Welcome to the big time, boys

Powerlifters off to world champs in Russia

PETER LAMPP
Last updated 12:00 14/02/2013
Hayden Pritchard
ROBERT KITCHIN/FAIRFAX NZ

FEEL THE PAIN: Powerlifter Hayden Pritchard doing the heavy hoist in training with Jono Parsons, at back. The pair are off to the world championships in Russia.

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A few months ago, Palmerston North powerlifter Hayden Pritchard had two unexpected visitors arrive at the front door of his house.

It was almost a welcome-to-international sport for the 24-year-old because on his doorstep were two drug-testers.

"I was quite happy," Pritchard said.

He and fellow Palmerston North lifter Jono Parsons went off to the Oceania championships in Sydney in December and came back unblemished on the drug front.

They can expect more random out-of-competition tests because both are off to the world championships in Suzdal, Russia, in June, once they raise $8000 to get there and back.

Pritchard explained the International Powerlifting Federation is trying to get Olympic recognition. A Russian lifter who tested positive after beating Invercargill's Sonia Manaena at the worlds in Sweden last year has been banned.

Pritchard is ultra-careful about taking supplements, always checking the Drug Free NZ list first.

He has been lifting since November 2010 and Parsons only since June after being talked into it by Pritchard. The Oceanias, where Parsons was second in the junior 120kg, were their first international powerlifting, and qualified them for Russia.

"We were never really in doubt after how we went at the Oceanias," Pritchard said. Now he is the human performance lab manager at Massey University and it was lecturer Matt Barnes who suggested he could excel at powerlifting.

In 2009, Pritchard was the student behind the Facebook site Keep the Turbos in the Top Division.

Pritchard and Parsons used to get funny looks at gyms wearing their powerlifting suits and with their chalk making a mess.

"So we train out of my garage now," Pritchard said.

In Russia, Pritchard will contest the under-93kg class, up from the under-83kg which he won at Sydney.

"My goal is a top-8 finish in the under-93kg class and top five in the squat and deadlift, while Jono is aiming for a medal in the junior under-120kg class as well as having a crack at the junior under-120kg deadlift world record."

That is 320kg and Parsons has lifted 310kg. Pritchard has squatted 245kg in the gym and 242kg in competition.

"I'm on target. I'd like to do 260kg - last year's best was 265 - but you never know who is going to turn up."

Weighing 116kg, Parsons, a 22-year-old insurance claims consultant, had been training as a non-competition bodybuilder for a few years and thus lifting weights for a long time.

He will contest the junior 105-120kg class in Russia.

A fundraising page for Pritchard and Parsons can be found at givealittle.co.nz/cause/Suzdal2013. For donations over $5 they are sending out wristbands.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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