Powerlifting mum reaches national titles after three years in the sport

Older, stronger, happier: Meet the ladies who lift

Sydney 2000
Photo supplied: Fiona Barrett Photography

(ABC News) ABC South East NSW

By Vanessa Milton


June 01, 2018 07:03:27

Video: Powerlifting mum Loureene Kelly hopes she provides her sons with a strong female role model.
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She currently holds the under-90kgs submasters national bench record.After placing first in state championships for the past two years, she was invited to compete at the Global Powerlifting Committee nationals for the first time this Friday. (Supplied: ya_mate_mikey, Instagram)

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Barbell selfie
The 33-year-old said she is more comfortable in her body now than she has ever been. Photo:
Loureene Kelly says that powerlifting has helped her become proud of her body. And she challenges the perception that women who post selfies are seeking validation or objectifying themselves for an audience.”If more women were confident to put themselves out there and be positive about how they look, then people wouldn’t feel as alienated in their own bodies,” Ms Kelly said.Dan Dakis, owner of the Iron Stronghold gym where Loureene trains, has witnessed Loureene’s transformation. “My mum is Tongan, and we’re big women on my mum’s side,” Ms Kelly said. (ABC South East NSW: Vanessa Milton)
“For Loureene to qualify and get into the nationals after three years of competing is an awesome achievement,” he said.”She’s lifting amongst the best in Australia”And Mr Dakis said she is not alone as a female in the sport. When Loureene Kelly first started going to the gym, she was a single mother of two young boys, looking for a way to deal with anxiety and depression.Three years later, she is quickly rising to the top of her class in competitive powerlifting. (ABC South East NSW: Vanessa Milton)
For Ms Kelly preparing for a competition forces her to draw on her deepest physical and emotional reserves. “I’m tired, my body hurts, I cry a lot. “The amount of girls competing in powerlifting is booming,” he said.”At the top level it’s insane — the girls are ridiculously strong. “And at the bottom level as well, there’s just more and more females competing, which is awesome to see. “But in this sport, you can have any kind of body type and absolutely kill it.”Ms Kelly believes that social media allows women to finally have input into the mainstream view of what is beautiful. Photo:
Dan Dakis owner of the Iron Stronghold gym in Pambula, said he has seen a boom in women taking up powerlifting. (ABC South East NSW: Vanessa Milton)
“I haven’t always been a strong woman, and my boys have seen that,” Ms Kelly said.”I think it’s really important for them to know that it’s up to us to make ourselves stronger.”For my boys to watch me grow into who I am now is very important for them to see that women can do anything.”

Loureene Kelly and her son Cooper. Photo:
Loureene Kelly with her sons Cooper and Harry. “By the end of a 12-week prep, everything is getting so much heavier,” Ms Kelly said. Growing up in the small coastal town of Eden on the New South Wales Sapphire coast she spent years feeling trapped in a body that didn’t fit the typical Aussie surfer girl ideal.”I was dark, I had curly hair, huge thighs and a huge chest,” Ms Kelly said.”I didn’t look like any of my friends.”For Ms Kelly, powerlifting has taught her to appreciate her body for its strengths.”I gain muscle easily, which gives me a bit of an advantage in powerlifting I guess,” Ms Kelly said. “Once girls realise that they can be strong, they’re pushing just as hard as the guys.”Ms Kelly fits her training into the busy juggle of working, studying and taking care of her two sons, Cooper and Harry, who often come to the gym with her after school. “It gets to a point where I think I’m never going to do it again, and then I do.”You’re doing the impossible, and making the impossible reality — that is the most empowering feeling.”
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Indian migrants revive a ‘ghost town’ by buying the corner shop

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(ABC Mid North Coast: Carla Mascarenhas) ABC Mid North Coast


Carla Mascarenhas


June 01, 2018 06:31:15

Govind Rabadiya with dairy farmer Rod Fisher in Comboyne.
And of course, it had a vibrant corner store. It served as a hub for more than 100 dairy farms, had its own butter factory, butcher, blacksmith and bank. Winning over the community

Govind and Ramila Rabadiya on their wedding day in Gujarat, India, six years ago. As smaller rural communities struggle to survive and retain basic services, an Indian migrant couple has revived a dying town by buying the corner store.Govind and Ramila Rabadiya bought the empty store in the isolated rural town of Comboyne, south-west of Port Macquarie, three years ago.Long-term resident Linda Stratford said the town was dying before they arrived.”Comboyne had become pretty much a ghost town” Ms Stratford said.”We didn’t even have fuel, people would come to visit Comboyne and they wouldn’t have fuel to get back, the nearest station was 40 minutes.”The mountain-top community had once been thriving. Photo:
Govind and Ramila Rabadiya with Comboyne Rural Fire fighters Chris Bell (left) and Wayne Swan. “We saw a great opportunity in Comboyne. (ABC Mid North Coast: Carla Mascarenhas)
But a range of market pressures saw the number of dairy farmers reduced to 13 and other businesses gradually close as residents began working in larger centres.”This pattern of repeated loss of local services certainly affected people’s outlook and confidence,” resident Donna Lance said.And with virtually no public transport, older people and lower-income families were particularly disadvantaged, being less able to travel to the larger centres.Emphasis on local produceEnter Govind and Ramila Rabadiya, originally from farming families in Gujarat, India, who fell in love with the space and beauty of Comboyne. “They have literally saved the town,” Barbara Ward, a Comboyne resident of 20 years said.”There are actually cars in the main street, it has helped other businesses too.”Their generosity was on display during one of the worst moments in Comboyne’s history, a bushfire in September last year.Two homes were lost, but Will Swan from the Comboyne Rural Fire Service believes more homes could have been lost if it hadn’t been for the local store.”We had 30 fire trucks in Comboyne and Govind made the offer to open up especially late at night when the fire trucks were running low on petrol.”The couple also provided a meeting place and distribution of food during the fire, and in its aftermath.The Rabadiyas are planning to stay in Comboyne for the foreseeable future and are expecting a child later this year. It is a lot like where we come from in India,” Ms Rabadiya, 29, said.”We spent countless hours working and fixing up the store, and invested a lot of our money into better infrastructure,” Mr Rabadiya said.The whole fuel system was renewed with new and extra modern pumps and the building painted and refurbished.New products with an emphasis on local produce were encouraged with Comboyne farmers supplying macadamias, honey, blueberries and avocadoes to the store.The couple also added a mechanical workshop and tyre-supply business, all employing local people. (Supplied: Govind Rabadiya)
The hard work of Govind and Ramila won over the community.
Comboyne 2429
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