Iven Hewett, Chinchilla power lifter.
Iven Hewett, Chinchilla power lifter. Contributed

Chinchilla's 74-year-old athlete claims new national record

Powerlifting: Age might just be a number but the weights Iven Hewett lifts certainly are not.

The 74-year-old Chinchilla powerlifter has snatched victory at the 2019 Australian Masters Powerlifting Championships in Cairns on the weekend.

Hewett lifted a record- breaking 85kg in his category in front of a crowd hundreds strong - smashing the new standard of 80kg.

The standard came in late last year to bring the competition in line with Olympic weightlifting.

For Hewett, setting a record brought a feeling of accomplishment and achievement.

"It's worth the effort, but whilst doing that I'm actually just exercising to keep myself healthy and well, so that's just a fringe benefit,” Hewett said.

The Chinchilla local started powerlifting when he was 70 and has placed and won at numerous competitions ever since.

But he has exercised with weights on and off since he was a teenager.

"It used to be four times a week when I was younger but as I've got older I just dropped it back to the three times a week - probably from 65 on - because your body needs a little bit more time to relax and recover and all that sort of stuff,” Hewett said.

"The rest is super important, even for the younger athletes: It's an important part of training, actually resting at the right times between training.”

But it's not just the exercise that brings Hewett back to the weights day after day.

Training at MAX Fitness in town, Hewett said it was the people that made all the difference.

"The folk attending the MAX Fitness gym are all very supportive,” he said.

"The camaraderie is one thing and gives me opportunity of mixing with all age groups of people.

"Going to the gym, mix with young people, middle aged people, older people like myself, and that's great for morale, a morale booster, it's more than that though I think.

"Exercise, I believe, is just as important as breathing and eating and reading. I try to embrace a holistic type of lifestyle if I can.

"One's just as important as the other.”

With his powerlifting victory, Hewett will be automatically invited to go to the world lifting championships but he said he'd just enjoy his national success.

"I've got other things in line to do as well - I've just left that one.”

For now Hewett and his wife, Val, are enjoying the warmer weather with a little holiday up north, before returning to chilly Chinchilla where you'll be sure to find him smashing more weights at the gym.