Bloem lifters achieve at SAWF Nationals

The four athletes from FFA gym. From left to right: Petrolene le Roux, André Smith, Antony Swanepoel, Marné Matthysen. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Four weightlifters from the Fire Forged Athletics (FFA) gym in Bloemfontein made the trip to the Western Cape to compete in the South African Weightlifting Federation Nationals, returning with three medals.

The four lifters took part in several categories. Petrolene le Roux took part in the F71kg weight class for women, Marné Matthysen in the F76kg weight class for women, André Smith competed in the M81kg weight class for men, and the gym’s owner and coach, Antony Swanepoel, competed in the M109kg weight class.

Swanepoel and Matthysen finished second in their respective weight classes, while Smith earned bronze in his. Le Roux ended seventh in the F71kg class.

“As an athlete and coach, I really can’t be prouder,” said Swanepoel. “I see the countless hours they spend in the gym, listening to each other and making each other better,” he continued, “like iron sharpening iron.”

The Free State, and Bloemfontein in particular, has a relatively small lifting community when compared to other provinces. What the province lacks in numbers, it makes up for in quality.

“For such a small federation, the lifters from Bloem always bring home medals, so I think everyone is satisfied with the results,” explained Swanepoel.

He also explained that the team of weightlifters at FFA are a close community, but that he also wants the community to grow. “We’re always looking for new candidates,” he said.

“Currently we are four competitive weightlifters, but we have a gym full of people who can compete at a higher level. My challenge is getting people confident enough to step onto the platform,” Swanepoel added.

The next official competition will be SA Masters, for lifters aged 35 years and older, which will be held in October at Fire Forged Athletics.

Swanepoel has also been chosen for the Commonwealth Championships team, and will be heading to Suva, Fiji, in September.

“Our goal is to grow the sport of weightlifting by making fitness enjoyable for everyone, regardless of ability,” concluded Swanepoel.


Warren Hawkins