Kiwi lifters tipped for several medals in Glasgow
New Zealand's largest Commonwealth Games weightlifting team looks capable of carrying medals back from Glasgow.
The team of 12 will be led by veteran lifter Richie Patterson, who is determined to go one better than his silver medal at the Games in Delhi four years ago.
The 31-year-old is rated as the No 1 lifter his class in the Commonwealth and recently showed he was in top shape by winning gold in his 85kg class at the Oceania championships in New Caledonia, breaking the New Zealand snatch record with a 156kg lift.
Stanislav Chalaev also won silver in Delhi. One of the most endearing moments of the 2010 Games was when the Auckland-based athlete, who emigrated from Russia as an 11 year old, clutched both his silver medal and a photo of his mother who had died the previous year.
Chalaev had to overcome surgery to both knees to make the team for Glasgow courtesy of his performances at the Oceania champs after missing the qualifying competition.
Boat builder and superyacht skipper Mark Spooner will be representing his country at a third games, while a group of young lifters will also look to make their mark.
They include 23-year-old Matthew Madsen in the 77kg class, 21-year-old Saxon Gregory-Hunt (85kg), 23-year-old Bailey Rogers in the women's 75kg event and Patterson's fiancee Pip Hale in the 53kg category.
Hale is a former competitive gymnast who only took up the sport two years ago but is already rated a medal chance in Glasgow as part of a women's team that also features South African-born Tracey Lambrechs, ranked third in the Commonwealth in the 75+kg class.
The weightlifters each get three lifts in the snatch and clean and jerk disciplines, with their best totals in each added up to form their final score.
AT A GLANCE
Best Kiwi gold medal hope: Richie Patterson, 85kg class. He won silver in Delhi in 2010 and was 14th at the 2012 London Olympics.
Best outside medal chance: Pip Hale is a newcomer to the sport but already close to the best in the Commonwealth in the women's 53kg class.
Venue: Clyde Auditorium.
Schedule: July 24-31.
NZ medal history: New Zealand has 36 medals in weightlifting at the Commonwealth Games - 10 gold, 11 silver and 15 bronze. The country's most famous weightlifters include gold-medal winners in 1966 (Don Oliver), 1974 (Graham May) and 1978 (Precious McKenzie).
Did you know? Philippines-born brothers Ianne and Lou Guinares are one of four pairs of siblings representing New Zealand at Glasgow. The others are athletics brothers Zane and Jake Robertson, badminton brother and sister Oliver and Susannah Leydon Davis and table tennis sisters Li Chunli and Karen Li.
- Waikato Times