World gold beckons Yonela

2015-11-04 06:00
Yonela Mbembe (16) will be taking part in the SA Bench Press Championship in Johannesburg in November, in an attempt to qualify for next year’s World Bench Press Championship.     Photo: Cara-Lee Scheun

Yonela Mbembe (16) will be taking part in the SA Bench Press Championship in Johannesburg in November, in an attempt to qualify for next year’s World Bench Press Championship. Photo: Cara-Lee Scheun

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POWER-LIFTING twice his weight seems to be all in a day’s fun for Yonela Mbembe (16), who will be attempting to qualify to take part in next year’s World Bench Press Championship later in the month.

Mbembe, a grade 10 pupil at the Newton Technical High School in Port Elizabeth, only took up power lifting earlier this year, when an injury prevented him from playing rugby for the remainder of the season.

He competed for the first time in April, when he only took part in the bench press discipline.

With a body weight of only 68kg at the time, Mbembe benched a staggering 120kg.

He said he had immediately loved the sport and decided that he wanted to achieve his EP colours.

In order to do this, he had to do three competitions at different levels. The next competition was held on August 29 in George at the Agricultural Show Grounds against Western Province. Yonela did a bench press of 125kg, which placed him first in his sub-junior division of 74kg. He also broke the EP record with his bench press at this competition.

Then after only two months of training he took part in the Eastern Cape Bench Press Championship on October 24. He then managed to break his own EP record by 12.5kg, benching 137.5kg.

Yonela will be off to Johannesburg where he will compete in the SA Bench Press Championships on November 21 to qualify for the World Bench Press Championship that will be held in Potchefstroom next year.

“I want to qualify for the world champs and then I want to get a gold medal,” a confident Mbembe said.

He trains every Monday to Friday for an hour-and-a-half a day. “I think I enjoy the sport, because I seem to be quite good at it. It also provides a way in which I can set goals for myself and challenge myself.”

Mbembe currently weighs 69kg and he will turn 17 just before the national championship later this month.

He says he does not follow a specific diet at this stage. “I am lucky, I basically eat what I want,” laughed Mbembe.

He said his favourite subjects at school were business studies and technical engineering. He hopes to become a personal trainer after school.

“But first let me get that gold medal at the world champs, and then let’s see where that leads me.”

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