Powerlifting newcomers make SA side

OFF TO BELARUS: Gearing up for the World Classic Championships are, Patricia Harding, left, and sister Samantha
Picture: MARK WEST

A lack of experience and tough competition has not deterred Westering High powerlifting sisters Samantha, 18, and Patricia Harding, 16, in their quest to become the best.

The duo have qualified to be part of the South African powerlifting team to compete in the World Classic Championships in Minsk, Belarus, in June.

With only a year of experience in powerlifting, the tenacious sisters have numerous accomplishments under their belts.

Having easily qualified for the South African Raw Powerlifting Championships, Patricia, who competes in the 47kg weight division, came first in the Eastern Cape Championship, breaking the South African dead-lift record.

Samantha, who competes in the 57kg weight division, also has an impressive record, coming in first in all Eastern Cape competitions.

In addition she has smashed the sub-junior record for the dead-lift and broke the sub-junior record for squat and bench press disciplines.

Coach Andrew Ludik said: “The girls have been working really hard since they started powerlifting.

“They are in the gym every day for at least two hours working on strength training.

“Representing the country in a big event like this will be an opportunity of a lifetime for any girls their age and those aspiring to be like them.”

The sisters are aiming to promote powerlifting at their school and in the Bay.

“We have started a club at Westering High and many pupils have shown interest in the sport,” Samantha said.

“We would eventually like to have our own gym where we can develop powerlifting in the Bay.

“We are eager to make South Africa and Port Elizabeth proud in Belarus.

“The host nation is said to have some of the best athletes in the world, but we are prepared with the hard work and training we have been doing all year.”

Besides powerlifting, the Harding sisters excel in cricket, cross-country and chess, obtaining awards and school colours.

The duo have been working tirelessly with raffles and an upcoming trivia night to raise R200 000 for their trip to Belarus.

They are also hoping to compete in the Commonwealth Championships to be hosted in Potchefstroom in September.

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