FIGHTING FIT: Retired Uniting Church Minister, Iven Hewett won gold at the Australian Powerlifting Championships in Melbourne.
FIGHTING FIT: Retired Uniting Church Minister, Iven Hewett won gold at the Australian Powerlifting Championships in Melbourne. Peter Hewett

Weightlifting priest challenges grandson, wins gold

WHAT started as a playful competition between a grandfather and grandson has ended in a gold medal at the national titles.

Retired Chinchilla Uniting Church Minister Iven Hewett said he "surprised" himself when he won gold at the Australian Powerlifting Championships in Melbourne last weekend.

"I didn't start competing until last year, and what initiated it was I challenged my grandson to a bench press competition," Mr Hewett said.

"My grandson Bailey was 17 years old at the time and I was 69. That's when I started taking (weightlifting) a bit more seriously again."

As an added incentive to get his teenage grandson on board, the retired minister, who can press 100kg, offered Bailey $500 when he could outdo him.

That was two years ago and Bailey still hasn't.

Now almost 71, Mr Hewett, picked up gold in the Masters IV, category 83kg weight division at the invitation-only, national event.

"I've exercised most of my life, I lifted weights when I was 17 and 18 to improve my strength for running. When I stopped running, I kept up the weights, and I've done that regularly for 55 years," Mr Hewett said.

The weightlifting minister trained three times a week and, seven weeks before the Championships employed a coach.

 

Val and Iven Hewett with his gold medal from the Australian Powerlifting Championships.
Val and Iven Hewett with his gold medal from the Australian Powerlifting Championships. Peter Hewett

But, the competition is just an added bonus to his end goal which is for health and fitness, which comes second only to family for the granddad.

"I'm enjoying good health now because I've exercised all my life and that's the advice I give to young people at the gym," he said.

"I tell them to live well; don't binge drink, don't smoke and excise regularly. Find yourself a good profession so you enjoy life."

Following Mr Hewett's national title success, he received another offer to compete at an invitational-only championship but turned it down, telling his coach, "I'm taking my wife over to Western Australia to look at flowers then".


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