Powerlifter heading to Romania

Not long to weight . . . Timaru powerlifter Caleb Campbell will represent New Zealand at the end of the month. PHOTO: CONNOR HALEY

An 18-year-old Timaru powerlifter will take to the world stage at the end of the month.

Caleb Campbell will travel to Cluj-Napoca, Romania to compete in the under-74kg class at the 2023 IBF World Classic and Equipped Sub-Junior and Junior Powerlifting Championships.

Campbell said originally he only started going to the gym in an effort to get fit for football.

‘‘One of my good mates I played football with did a novice powerlifting comp and I went along and supported and thought oh . . . this actually looks all right.’’

He then entered himself into a novice competition, did well and just progressed from there, competing in the Canterbury championship then the South Island championship and worked his way up to now competing at a world championship.

But getting to that point was not an easy task.

‘‘The first thing you need to do is get the qualifying total — which for my weight class was 477.5kg — what that means is your best squat, best bench and best deadlift get added up collectively and have to total at least 477.5kg.’’

Campbell achieved that total twice.

At a competition in November last year, he recorded a best squat of 175kg, a best bench of 77.5kg and a best deadlift of 225kg.

Record breaker . . . Caleb Campbell deadlifts 225kg at a competition in November. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

He then bettered that again at a recent competition in April where he totalled 502.5kg, which included a 237.5kg deadlift, setting a Canterbury and unofficial New Zealand record in the process.

An application was then submitted, a drug test seminar taken and then ‘‘it was a waiting game really’’, Campbell said.

‘‘One of my mates got an email saying he’d been selected for the NZ team and I was like ‘maybe I should have look and see if I’ve got one as well’. I had a look and there was an email saying ‘congrats Caleb you’ve been selected to go to Romania’.

‘‘I was over the moon.

‘‘First of all I was quite surprised, shocked to be honest because it was something I had dreams of going to, it was my goal to get there but once I actually achieved that I was like ‘whoa it’s happening’.’’

Campbell is currently living in Christchurch, studying for a diploma in sport recreation at the New Zealand Institute of Sport.

He said trying to find the balance between studying and training had proved difficult at times.

‘‘At the moment I am training four times a week just to give my body a good amount of rest, since I’m so close to comp it’s a lot of heavier work.

‘‘I’ve got two lectures a day so I have to work my training in around that. Sometimes I train in the afternoon but sometimes it has to be at night — it’s just about finding an even balance.’’

Preparation . . . Powerlifter Caleb Campbell will be competing in the 74kg class at the 2023 IPF World Sub Junior Classic and Equipped Powerlifting Championship. PHOTO: CONNOR HALEY

Struggling with a slight lower back injury Campbell was hoping to still get a medal in the squat and deadlift. ‘‘What I’m going to achieve is just the best outcome I can get. ‘‘I’m not going to impress anyone or anything like that. I’m going to do the best I can and importantly get a feel for how international comps are.’’ Campbell said the lifting kit and equipment was all supplied but he had to sort accommodation, fees and travel costs himself. ‘‘The Timaru community is very supportive of local people and I’ve been very lucky to gain sponsorships to help me get there.’’ He said he would aim for a 250kg deadlift on the day. ‘‘I’m really excited about going and really excited about how far I can push my limits on an international level. ‘‘I feel super supported with everyone helping me get there.’’ Campbell will be travelling to Romania on Wednesday and competing on August 30. The event will be livestreamed on Youtube at about 10pm (NZ time).