International weightlifting champion Katrina Robertson wants Central Highlands athletes to realise their sporting dreams just as she has.
International weightlifting champion Katrina Robertson wants Central Highlands athletes to realise their sporting dreams just as she has.

Clermont champion raises bar

FROM Clermont schoolgirl to world weightlifting champion, Katrina Robertson has done it all. But she hasn’t stopped there and has sent out the call to fellow would-be champions that it doesn’t matter where you live, dream it and you will succeed.

The trained psychologist, who now spends most of her time based in Mackay, still makes regular trips back to the region of her youth to catch up with old friends, including her former gym trainer Ken Ware in Emerald.

Katrina said powerlifting ran in her blood and the champion took time out from her usual schedule to assist a bunch of promising local athletes achieve their own personal goals at Emerald’s Generations Gym.

Katrina said while she was very proud of her record-breaking achievements, some which still stood, she was sympathetic to training hardships facing those now under her guidance.

“I actually still hold one world record – a 263.5kg dead-lift,” Katrina said. “So when you manage to get yourself to picking three fridges up at the same time, you kind of get an idea of what things people will need to get through their hurdles.

“But we have a great time, we have a lot fun at training.

“I’m always saying to them ‘don’t leave anything at the gym, when you’re 90 (years of age) and sitting on your rocking chair you want to be one to talk about the things you did do rather than the things you wish had done’.”

The champion powerlifter put her own advice into practise in her first competition in Townsville, setting a benchmark far beyond even her own expectations could have imagined.

“I went up there (Townsville) as a novice but I didn’t have a belt or any of the gear – I mean before this I had never even heard of powerlifting,” Katrina said.

“I was just about to lift my second dead-lift and the referee stopped the competition and said ‘do you realise you are only two and a half kilos off an Australian record?’.

“So we put an extra five kilos on it just to make sure of it and got an Australian record on my first go.

“I just thought - yeah right mate, you’re just being nice to me because it was my first competition – I didn’t know what all the fuss was about.”

The modest professional has since gone on to travel the world with weightlifting, setting numerous other national and international records but downplayed her remarkable feats as nothing more than what any athlete with the right mindset could achieve.

“I always put it down to that we breed them strong out here,” Katrina said.

“I’m just a kid from Clermont who went off and did a whole heap of other things. That’s what’s important, making sure that we do push the boundaries regardless of whether we live in the city or the country.

“We seem to have that idea that because we live in the country we don’t have the capacity to go and do things and of course we can.”

Returning to her usual employment in Mackay was going to be a tough undertaking, Katrina said, with a lot of positives to take away from her Emerald stay.

“It’s going to be hard to leave because I’ve had such a great time,” she said.

“It really is lovely to be around people who want to challenge themselves, I love it. It’s a great place to be.”

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