Southlander Julian Dempsey is "over the moon" to be selected as one of three coaches attending the Commonwealth Games with the New Zealand weightlifting team.
Dempsey, who began weightlifting at 13, said he had waited his whole professional career as a weightlifter for such an opportunity.
"It means everything really. It's the jewel in the crown. It's always been a long-term goal to get there as a coach and it finally happened," he said.
Southland Olympic Weightlifting club chairwoman Barbara Grieve said Dempsey's selection was massive for the club.
"It proves that our coach is as good as what we believe he is. It gives the current lifters we have down here more motivation knowing that they've got a quality coach. We're very proud of him," she said.
Dempsey said he believed his selection was down to the many successes from lifters under his coaching, including 23-year-old Bailey Rogers, who will be lifting at the Commonwealth Games.
Dempsey has coached Rogers for less than a year and has already helped her to break two New Zealand weightlifting records and secure her place in the Commonwealth Games.
"When I met Bailey about a year ago I was coaching her in CrossFit. I told her she should stop because she had a really good chance of getting into the Games, so she did. The rest is history really," Dempsey said.
Grieve said Dempsey had done everything he could to coach Rogers, including regularly travelling to Christchurch, where she lives.
"There's an amazing amount of work he's put into it. He's put in his own time, effort and money to coach her," Grieve said.
Dempsey will travel with the team to the Commonwealth Games later this month.
The first weightlifting competition begins July 24.
Sharon Reece is a journalism student at SIT.
- The Southland Times