Six weeks ago, Whanganui teenager Amorangi Rayner mapped out a plan and last week executed that plan to perfection in New Caledonia wearing the silver fern.
The 14-year-old Cullinane College Year 10 student returned home from the 2018 Oceania Weightlifting Championships with a silver medal after breaking seven records, three of which she now owns.
Proud father and coach Matt Rayner was immediately prompted to declare he had witnessed the mentality of a champion in action.
The young weightlifting protege had finished second in the U15, under-53kg junior division, but also fourth in the tougher Youth grade, although both classes featured athletes from a host of other countries with far larger populations than New Zealand.
"Over the past few weeks I've observed a champion prepare and execute a plan despite numerous barriers along the road," Matt Rayner said.
"It's an impressive story and she has some amazing lessons for all of us to learn from."
Six weeks ago, Amorangi's mother Karli Kaea-Norman and father received an email from Olympic Weightlifting NZ advising their daughter of her selection to the New Zealand team travelling to New Caledonia to compete at the 2018 Oceania Championships.
Starting at that exact moment, Amorangi began a six week training plan aimed at peaking in New Caledonia and achieving her goal of three New Zealand records.
"Training went amazing, and she was hitting the numbers that we wanted all the way along," Matt Rayner said.
"Two weeks out from Oceania, Whanganui Olympic Weightlifting hosted a club comp and we were going to use this as practice. There was only one issue, two weeks out from the big day Amorangi was 2kg over the 53 kg limit. However, just like a champion, she didn't let that deter her from the goal, and cleaned her diet even more.
"One week out from the big day, we get an email saying that due to an administration error, eight lifters would not be able to lift in New Caledonia. As you can imagine, our hearts sank and we immediately started to message other coaches to see if our athlete was one of the eight."
"Amorangi was clear, and after a tense day, she could carry on with her prep and get ready for the competition. However, just like a champion, she didn't let that deter her from the goal, and got back on the platform to train."
The morning of her flight the plan was to wake up at 6:30am and drop Amorangi off in Palmerston North, then she would fly out with the NZ team and spend three days training and preparing in New Caledonia before lifting on Thursday.
"As we woke on Sunday, a text was waiting from Air New Zealand to tell us the plane had been cancelled. So after a full 12 hours of calls to travel insurance and travel agents, we managed to get Amorangi onto a seat leaving Tuesday. This was a major dent in the plans.
The stress of 'will I even make it?' and then the loss of two days acclimatising to the island and training with the team. However, just like a champion, she didn't let that deter her from the goal, and created a positive out of the lost days."
Through all of these barriers, Amorangi has maintained the mentality of a champion and came home with the goods.
She broke a total of seven New Zealand records, got a personal best in the snatch, and earned a silver medal in the U53kg Junior Women.
"There are some take home lessons that Amorangi has taught me," Matt Rayner said.
"Consistency and routine — practice exactly how you mean to execute. She spend hours on the platform training for this event, so when she finally got the chance to lift in New Caledonia, it was just like any other day.
"Look for the positive — In any shitty situation there will be a sliver lining. When faced with a barrier, you have two choices: moan and become depressed, or get over it and look for the win.
"When the plane was cancelled, Amorangi thought about her saving money. When she weighed 2kg over 53kg, she built up anticipation of the post event meal.
"Have an amazing support team — Amorangi was the only one on the platform, but it took a tribe of people to get her there. From her mum preparing food and making sure her drug testing forms were done correctly, to her coach laying out the six-week course, to her gymnastics coach who let her skip gymnastics, and to the many many people that helped fund raise."
Amorangi's lifts at Oceania
+ 47kg Snatch achieved and broke her own snatch record which was 46kgs, set last year at nationals.
+ 49kg Snatch achieved broke the record she just set in the last lift
+ 51kg Snatch Achieved and also a Personal Best for Amorangi and broke the record for snatch one more time increasing it by 5kg from her performance at nationals last year.
57kg Clean & Jerk Achieved and broke the record held by another lifter that was 56kg. Also broke her own record for the total which was 99kg set at nationals last year also. Total is the best snatch plus the best clean and Jerk lifted in the same competition, so at this point it was at 108kg.
+ 60kg Clean & Jerk Achieved and broke both the records again that she broke in the last lift. Increased the clean and Jerk record by 4kg and the total record by 12kg,
+ 62kg Clean & Jerk Missed lift