South African Masters Weightlifting Federation: Highlights from 2016

South Africa had a history of great masters weightlifting. During the late 80’s and 90’s names like Nash, Kaplan, Asaro, Montgomery, Gaffley, Hofmeyr and Kinghorn and others were well known. Our masters competed internationally and we had world class lifters spread over all the weight and age categories. However despite the fact that masters weightlifting became one of the most popular sports internationally, Masters weightlifting in South Africa dwindled into non-existence.


More recently the 2013 – 2016 American Masters Weightlifting Championships were won by Ryan Erasmus. He also broke all the American Masters records in his category but till 2015 he was unfortunately not allowed by the SAWF to present South Africa internationally in national colours. In 2014 he represented South Africa at the 2014 Masters Weightlifting World Championships in Copenhagen Denmark. but was not allowed to wear any insignia or National Colours of South Africa as his request to sign his entry was denied by the President of the SAWF.


After being absent from the international scene for many years South Africa was once again represented on the world stage by Koos Henning who competed in the 2015 World Championships in Finland, securing a sixth place in the men 55 – 60 age category and 77kg weight category. This was followed up by the establishment of a new South African Masters Weightlifting Federation (SAMWF) in 2016.


Within one year South Africa’s masters weightlifting grew from no existence to a force to be reckoned with by the rest of the world.


We wrote our own constitution according to which we act as an independent entity but under the umbrella of the SA Weightlifting Federation and we selected a committee with Koos Henning as chairman and Antoinette Kriel as secretary.


The SAMWF is now formally recognised by the World Masters Weightlifting Federation.
Standards for South African Masters records were set for all the categories and we designed a new national emblem.


In 2016 we had our first national championships with Susan Van Zyl Claassen winning best overall female lifter and Koos Henning winning the best overall male lifter award.


The highlight of the 2016 lifting season was the World Masters Weightlifting Championships in Heinsheim Germany. Thirteen of our top master weightlifters competed. It was the biggest weightlifting competition ever with 47 countries and almost a thousand weightlifters competing. Keeping in mind that this was our first team competition in many years we are very proud to know that we had made an impact on World Weightlifting. Our men and women teams both got a 9th place in the team competition and three of our lifters (Corien Potgieter, Ryan Erasmus and Greg Shushu) got gold medals in their categories. A 9th place for our team and three world champions is really an outstanding accomplishment.


It is our mission to build on the solid foundation set in 2016 and grow masters weightlifting in South Africa bigger and stronger than it has ever been.