Whanganui teenager Amorangi Rayner is packing a punch in national weightlifting circles and has claimed the New Zealand Under-53kg Secondary Schools title.
The win at the secondary schools in Petone last month qualified the 13-year-old Year 9 Cullinane College student for the 2017 National Olympic Weightlifting Championships in Dunedin on October 6-8.
Rayner travelled to the secondary schools championships with 17-year-old Cullinane School mate Dante Karangaroa, Whanganui High School's Wiremu Rogan and four lifters from Nga Tawa School.
While her fellow lifters did well holding their own in their various divisions, Rayner was the standout lifting more than her own body weight in the clean and jerk. Rayner lifted 45kg in the snatch, then upped the ante lifting 55kg in the clean and jerk for a 100kg total and first place in her age and weight division.
Rayner was always destined for a life in sport with her parents Matt Rayner and Karli Kaea-Norman owning the Crossfit Whanganui gym in Hatrick St."Amorangi has always been a natural athlete and we purposely didn't push her into this sport preferring her to make her own choices," matt Rayner said.
"She is also a very good gymnast and competed at the nationals last year, but has chosen weightlifting this year and is again at nationals. We are secretly patting ourselves on the back she has chosen this path.
"Amorangi is 53kg, so just sneaked into her weight division at the secondary schools. The next step up is to the 58kg division."
Rayner is only in her first season weightlifting with 13 the starting age allowed for competitive competition.
"The sport is all about size and technique - the are key in weightlifting," Rayner said.
In the meantime, Amorangi Rayner is on the lookout for potential sponsors or generous benefactors to help with the cost of competing in Dunedin early next month.