At the Oceania Weightlifting Championship in Gold Coast, Australia, the 18-year-old won a bronze medal in the OWF junior 90kg category.
Lynch managed a new personal best total, an 80kg “snatch” lift and 98kg “clean and jerk” lift to finish on third place. She competed against weightlifters from around the Pacific, including Nauru, Australia and Samoa. The Oceania event was held concurrently with the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championship in which Lynch managed a fifth place finish.
The Commonwealth event featured teams from Oceania as well as India and Sri Lanka.
“The last competition that I took part in, I managed 69kg snatch and 88kg clean and jerk. So I’m pleased that it’s a very good improvement in a span of just couple of months and I think I can do better,” Lynch said.
She believes the improvement is largely due to her seven-week stint at the Oceania Weightlifting Institute in New Caledonia.
She trained under the guidance of the legendary coach Paul Coffa and alongside top weightlifters from around the Pacific, including elite senior Cook Islands weightlifter, Luisa Peters.
“I spent seven weeks leading up to the Commonwealth and Oceania Weightlifting Championship. I started getting personal best from the first week so it was definitely an eye opener for me.
“A lot of people saw that I have potential in this sport. I just needed the proper coaching and definitely the facilities in New Caledonia were a huge improvement for me.
“Everyone was really nice and I think that’s the coolest thing about being a Pacific Islander, we all bonded really well together. I was one of the youngest people training at the OWF Institute, so it was a great opportunity for me to learn.
“The other weightlifters also training there gave me more coaching and guided me during the training, because Paul Coffa had to work with all of the other 30 elite athletes. So he didn’t had time to focus on me alone.”
Lynch is hoping to return to the institute to further her weightlifting technique. But that, she said, will depend on the Cook Islands Weightlifting Federation and her parents.
The first year student at University of the South Pacific Cook Islands campus also wants to complete her Bachelor of Commerce degree in tourism management.
“I appreciate my coaches here, Mike Tereruni and Geoff Halston as I continue to train here. I have to consider how to balance the demands of this sport and training, with my tertiary studies and other activities, like our church youth and a part-time job.
“I would love to return to the OWF Institute although it requires a lot of hard work and you are in muscle pain on a daily basis.
“But I can appreciate that dedication, determination, sacrifice and pushing through is required to do well at this high level. It’s been very rewarding at the end of the day especially to receive my first international medal.”
In the meantime, Lynch hopes to continue training to maintain her improved strength and technique, and to help out in the development of weightlifting in our country, especially among youth.
She is hoping to improve on her lifts by competing more often at upcoming regional and international weightlifting events.
“Weightlifting is a very challenging, individual sport, but I thank everyone who has contributed and helped me reach this far.”