With a lengthy background in strength sport, Nicole Kumerich is relishing the thought of making her mark in weightlifting in her home city of Auckland at World Masters Games 2017.
Nicole has possessed outstanding physical strength for as long as she can remember. Aged ten she could do 100 press-ups. After taking up the sport of powerlifting in her mid-teens she went on to set three world records at the junior world championships.
Later after being inspired watching the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur on TV she opted to switch focus and try her hand at weightlifting.
“It looked exciting, you needed to be strong and fast in the gym and I liked the challenge the sport” explains the 40-year-old strength coach and personal fitness trainer of the move to her new sport.
Not unsurprisingly Nicole proved a hit at weightlifting. Excelling on a national level and going on to win a bronze medal at the Oceania Championships she, however, retired from the sport in 2001 after missing out on qualifying for the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games.
For ten years she focused on her family life. Set met her husband, himself an ex-weightlifter, had two kids and developed her professional life.
Then in 2011 – ten years on from retirement – her passion for the sport was reignited when watching New Zealand’s 2010 Commonwealth Games representative Kate Saynor lift in the gym on Auckland’s North Shore.
“I thought, I wonder what it would like to try it again,” she admits. “At the time New Zealand was also trying to qualify a woman for the Olympic Games, so that’s how I got back into it.”
On her return, Nicole has enjoyed outstanding success. Competing as an open lifter, the Aucklander has won the New Zealand 58kg title for the past four years and has also set a raft of New Zealand records in the 35-39 age group.
She missed out on her dream to represent her country at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which the Greenhithe-based lifter always admitted would be a “long shot,” but she has now reset her focus on an outstanding showing at the World Masters Games.
“I’m really excited,” she says. “The event will be staged at AUT Millennium on my home turf and it is a world champs and the last time I competed at a world championships was as a junior in powerlifting.”
Nicole is unsure yet whether she will compete in the 58kg or 63kg weight division as a 40-44 age group lifter, but she has very clear ambitions on what she would like to achieve.
“I definitely would like a medal and to increase my New Zealand masters records,” she adds.