Southland-based athlete Grant McKenzie may be Special Olympics New Zealand’s sole powerlifting competitor at the LA2015 World Summer Games but he is not fazed by the position.
He is well prepared for the Games and has a proven track record in his sport both in mainstream and Special Olympics competitions.
“It is a great opportunity. I’m looking forward to representing New Zealand. It is a good reason to keep training hard and to do my best,” says Grant, who became a Special Olympics New Zealand Global Messenger in 2011.
His strength is staggering. In 2012 Grant came third in the South Island Powerlifting Championships. He lifted 117.5kg in the Open 83kg squat; 72.5kg in the benchpress; and 170kg in the deadlift—a combination total of 360kg. The same year he achieved first place with a total weight of 380kg at the Special Olympics Otago Regional Games in Dunedin.
Proving a tendency to improve at each competition, Grant achieved another personal best at the Special Olympics New Zealand National Summer Games 2013 for total weight lifted.
Grant lives in Invercargill during the week and does around four hours weight training at the gym for powerlifting. Grant also runs and competes in athletics, and represented Southland at the Special Olympics Trans Tasman Tournament 2012 in Cairns, Australia. He is also involved in ten pin bowling and rowing, competing successfully in regattas on the water and at indoor rowing competitions.
Grant’s training is fitted around his work as an Assistant Caretaker at Ruru School, and work on his family’s sheep farm near Otautau (50km northwest of Invercargill).