A case of like sons, like father

Graeme Evans trains for his first weightlifting competition as sons (from left) Toby, Luke  and...
Graeme Evans trains for his first weightlifting competition as sons (from left) Toby, Luke and Ryan watch on at the Otago Weightlifting Club’s gym yesterday. Photo: Linda Robertson
You often hear of children following their parents into sports — but Graeme Evans has done the opposite.

The 49-year-old has taken the lead of his three sons, Toby (17), Ryan (16) and Luke (12), and is set to compete alongside them in his first Olympic-style weightlifting competition today.

He did not have high expectations for the Dunedin meet at the Otago Weightlifting Club today. It would provide a good "line in the sand", he said.

Indeed it was just before Christmas that he first started training on a quiet night at the gym.

"Pretty much for three years I sat there and watched [my boys]," he said.

"One of them said ‘why don’t you give it a go?’ and I couldn’t find an excuse not to, so I ended up doing it."

He enjoyed both the gym and the family aspect.

Indeed it was a notable feature of the club.

Six sets of siblings were involved there — including the Webb brothers, who featured in last week’s edition of The Star.

Graeme said he enjoyed watching young people do great things, and he was hoping to set a good example for his own children.

Setting goals was a big thing for him, with the family being inspired to do so by a high-achieving friend.

"It’s good to be a part of what the kids are doing.

"It’s just about encouraging them to set goals as well, if you like.

"You’re never too old to set a goal and give it a go.

"I’ve got a couple of personal goals in mind and I just hope the kids can emulate it later in their life and set some goals themselves."

Ryan, a King’s High School pupil, holds all three Dunedin records — the snatch, clean and jerk, and total — for the youth 56kg class, with lifts of 51kg, 66kg and 117kg respectively.

Luke, who attends Taieri College, holds the youth 50kg clean and jerk record with a lift of 43kg.

Both are set to attend New Zealand trials in April.

Toby, an apprentice plumber, is not far off breaking records either and claimed a New Zealand secondary schools title last year  while at King’s.

All trained twice a week and it helped with their other sports. Otago lifters as well as several top competitors from Christchurch will be at the meet.

It acts as a qualifier for international competitions.

Several of the best are looking to reach the totals required for qualify for Oceania and junior world championships.

The women begin lifting at 10am and the men at 11.30am, with the competition expected to wrap up between 1.30 and 2pm.

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