Emily lifts herself to top of the country


Power-lifter and Year 12 student Emily Rutherford recently became the National Youth Champion after competing in Christchurch last month.

Emily first started power-lifting a couple of years back, after becoming one of the regulars at her local gym. Though hesitant at first, she soon discovered a love for the sport. “I was always too scared to go over to the free-weights section because it was only macho guys, but I finally went over there, and I just kept going,” she said.

The young sportswoman has since competed in South Islands and Nationals. She trains four days a week and has monthly catch-ups with her coach and national record-breaker Jason. “I wouldn’t have done nearly as well as I did if it wasn’t for him.”

Though sticking to all the training and nutrition plans can be annoying, Emily finds it well worth it. “It’s fun when you’re at the gym and you’re lifting heavier than the guys there. It really boosts your ego,” she laughed. With her ability to squat 110kg and deadlift 130kg, there’s no doubt that it happens a lot.

With an admitted competitive streak, the performance aspect of power-lifting suits Emily just fine. “It’s fine, I like attention,” she joked. Set-backs don’t get her down either. “It just makes you want to work harder to get it. It’s like a challenge.”

She’s noticed the perks of power-lifting in all areas of life. “It helps with confidence, and I’ve become both physically and mentally stronger,” she said. She’d love to see more young women in the sport. “It’s not everyone’s thing, but it’s definitely a good thing to try out. You never know.” 

By student reporter Maya Jayasena