The world of powerlifting has been rocked by a Māori newcomer to the sport following the latest IBF competition in Texas. Tui Katene of Te Atiawa and Ngāti Ruanui climbed to the number four ranking in the world taking the bronze medal in her class.
Katene says, “Yeah I mean they were like who is this? Who’s this kiwi, the commentators had no idea who I was and obviously where I was from but no idea, they'd never seen me before and they were completely shocked.”
She went as a newcomer to the sport but this Te Atiawa and Ngāti Ruanui athlete returned having made a name herself at the latest IBF powerlifting competition.
“A lot of the people that I was competing with at IBF were sixteen to twenty years’ experience, compared to my one. I'm excited about my potential and my future and I know a lot of my coaches and New Zealand Powerlifting are excited about that as well.”
Though small in stature, she is a sporting giant having already represented NZ in touch, rugby sevens, and bodybuilding before taking up powerlifting.
“This is my first year in this sport and I've won a bronze medal. I'm totally excited with all the people who have supported me to achieve my goals.”
While in Texas Tui also set a New Zealand bench press record of 85kg for the under 72kg masters division. Now she is looking for sponsorship for upcoming nationals in August and Oceania in December.
No matter where I am in the world I live in Whangarei in Ngunguru in New Zealand. I'm competing against some of the best or the best powerlifters in the world like seven times world champion Priscilla Rib. I believed I could, I got there and I stood right next to her and like I said I'm two steps away from taking that next level and being a world champion and ultimately that's what I want to be. You just gotta work hard and if you work hard and believe, anything is possible.”