16-year-old powers to national record despite back injury
WITH pain in his back, Josh Gibbins lowers himself onto the bench press.
Grasping the cold metal bar, Gibbins reminds himself of the countless hours spent in the gym and of the encouraging words from his mentors.
It all comes down to this.
The 16-year-old pushes against the bar and 115kg of weight balances above his shaking arms.
And with that an Australian record is broken, a new Australian champion is born and Gibbins has achieved his goal.
That is the story of the Rockhampton powerlifter who worked his way into the record books on debut at the GPC Australia Championships in Brisbane recently.
He now has his sights on a second Australian title, a career in the army and finishing year 12 with a good OP.
Gibbins said his national success has motivated him to achieve even more.
"It felt good and exciting to break the record," said the teenager, who brushed aside a back injury to reign supreme in the 16-17 year-old boys' 82.5kg division.
"I had been working towards it for months, training seven days a week, with about 20 hours in the gym a week so it was a good accomplishment.
"I'm hoping to go back down in June to compete in the Australian Titles again, but at the same time I'm also training up for the army.
"I'm hoping to be at Kapooka (Army Recruit Training Centre) by the 23rd of January next year and I'm also in grade 12 and going for my OP so it's a big balance."
The determined teenager said while sometimes balancing his three goals was hard, he had his training partner, Connor Allan and mentors Norman Jeha, Paul Offord, Scott Conaghan, Robert Kennedy and Adam Gow to spur him on.
"At the moment I'm probably spending 10-15 hours depending on what I'm doing in the gym a week," Gibbins said.
"My friend Connor also trains here and he and I had been training for months leading up into the Australian titles.
"Leading up to the competition Connor actually tore his lower back in half but when he went down to compete he did a 70kg bench and 30kg deadlift in the 60kg weight division."
Gibbins thanked Party Shop Rockhampton, True Value Hardware, Pat's Gems, Glamorous by Nature Hair Salon, Craig Wallace Painting Service and Rocky Fitness Centre for their support.