Bruce Park got a new lease on life when he started
powerlifting four years ago. He is now a world champion and
world record holder.
Park (75), a South Otago farmer, won the over-70 title in the
66kg class at the world masters powerlifting championships in
Killeen, Texas, recently.
His scores were: squat 130kg, bench press 85kg, deadlift
185kg, total 400kg. The deadlift was a world record.
"I'm 75 and I've broken a world record," Park said.
"You are never too late to start."
Park and Sylvia Clarkson (66) were the only Otago
powerlifters competing at the championships.
Clarkson won the bronze medal in the women's over-60 age
group in the 63kg class.
Her scorers were: squat 110kg, bench press 50kg, deadlift
120kg, total 280kg. The squat was a New Zealand record.
They were part of the New Zealand team of nine lifters who
qualified for the event. There were 150 competitors from 22
countries competing at the championships.
In 2008, Park won a gold medal at the Oceania championships
in Tahiti and a year later won a bronze medal in the world
bench press championships in Taupo.
Park suffered a setback two years ago when he slipped a disc
in his back and pinched the femoral nerve, losing the power
in his legs that is essential for successful powerlifting.
The steady improvement in his powerlifting has been guided by
coaches Rennie and Marie Soffe.
Park was also keen on athletics in his younger days and
coached his daughter, Janet, to a New Zealand senior women's
discus title in 1991.
His next target is the Oceania championships in Australia
Clarkson, a nurse, started powerlifting five years ago to
strengthen her back. She is coached by partner Phil Murphy
and has made rapid progress in the sport over the past four