Birmingham Bound

After a five-year break to focus on her studies and work Manine Lynch picked up the barbell to and resumed training in November of last year. Entering the Christmas Liftoff at the Tumuora CrossFit Gym in Rarotonga initiated the hunger for more! With a total of 162kg lifted in the competition Manine and her coach Luisa Peters made a plan to get to the Commonwealth Games and that they did.   

Earlier on this year Manine proved she still had it in her with only two weeks of training prior to competing Manine took the platform and won gold medal in the 87+ category at the New Zealand International Competition held at the Papatoetoe Sports Institute. Lifting a total of 196kgs with an 86kg Snatch and a 110kg Clean and Jerk not only earned her a podium finish but even more exciting her placed in 7th for the Commonwealth Qualifiers with only 11 spots up for grabs, what a feat! 

It just keeps getting better for Manine, last month she competed in the OWF Online Cup where she placed 4th overall in the 87+kg category. Finally hitting a 200kg total which has been a longstanding goal in her lifting career. Manine smashed it with an 88kg Snatch and a 112kg Clean and Jerk. This has been her best performance in competition to date.  

Manine was first introduced to competitive weightlifting back in 2015 when her high school coach at the time entered her and her friend into the New Zealand National Secondary Schools Weightlifting Competition. Having only trained at CrossFit she wasn’t expecting to do very well but ended up winning a gold medal, followed by another gold the year after in the same competition. New Zealand Weightlifting approached her to join the junior youth team but being a true Kuki at heart, Manine declined the offer to return home and represent the Cook Islands.  

Back in Raro a determined young Manine trained hard and participated in competitions all over Oceania, growing her confidence and brushing shoulders with other passionate lifters like her. Shortly after, Manine was fortunate enough to spend three months training in New Caledonia at the Oceania Weightlifting Institute with Luisa Peters and other athletes from around the world. This was a big eye opener for Manine, experiencing what full-time training as an athlete was like and the determination and commitment that was required to be the best. Her training paid off at the Oceania Weightlifting Championship in 2017 when she won a bronze medal in the junior 90kg category. 

There is no rest for the 24-year-old, being one of 18 Athletes representing the Cook Islands in the Commonwealth Games this July. Waking up at 4:30 every morning for her first training of the day, finishing up at 6:30 Manine makes a mad dash to grab her favourite dirty chai latte and back to Turangi to read her bible as she watches the sun rise. From 8am-4pm you will find Manine working in the family business Cook Islands Holiday Villas. By 5pm Manine is back in the gym this time with fellow athletes Jerome Tura and Bresis Crighton, in the past Manine trained on her own however now that she has a coach and team mates, she looks forwards to their training sessions because they are always fun. Following training some evenings you can find Manine working for her photography business down the beach shooting a sunset session. Come Friday she’s rushing off to get ready for her 412 Youth Service. This busy beaver is a passionate Christian, who enjoys going to youth group and church and hanging out with her family and friends. At times Manine has to sacrifice the things she loves to get one step closer to achieving her sporting goals. Manine is grateful for the community and support system that surrounds her, she never feels left out.  

A proud weightlifter, Manine is happy and excited to be back competing with her main priority being to do her best and have some fun. She hopes that her story will encourage anyone and everyone to give it a go. Although unsure of her plans post Commonwealth games and the encouragement from her coaches, friends and family to carry on competing, she jokes that she will retire after the games - “one and done”.