Team Hinesville weight lifters David Purser and James Fox placed first and second, respectively, at the 2010 Georgia Games last weekend in Atlanta.
Purser, a team veteran, competed in the super heavy weight junior division. The 19-year-old said it was a triumph after taking some time off.
"I was in a meet in April but I had to pull out because of an injury," he said. "I didn’t compete. I spent about two months rehabbing that and was back on the platform last weekend."
Purser said he spent three weeks before the meet preparing and training harder once he felt his shoulder could take the weight.
"I’m up to eight kilograms less than my all time best, which was 228 kilos," he said about his comeback. "I did 220K. I lifted 95 kilos in the snatch and 125 kilos in the clean and jerk. Overall, I was probably in the top five and a couple of guys were world class competitors."
Fox competed in the 15-year-old 85K weight division. Because it was his first meet, the teen said he was jittery as he stepped up to the platform.
"I was extremely nervous the whole time. I was just thinking in my head, ‘I hope I do well,’" he said.
Fox said he lifted 73K in the clean and jerk, which he thought was fairly easy for his first round lift.
"What (coach) Jenna (Bussard) has me do is get mad so I can hit my lift and in my second lift I hit 81K, which is a new personal record for me. My last lift was 87K, but I didn’t clear the lift all the way so I dropped that."
Fox went into the snatch lift clearing 58K in round one and 63K in his second lift for a second-place finish.
Fox, a multi sport athlete from Long County, said weightlifting has quickly become his passion.
"I actually quit football so I can do this," he said. "I found that I love this sport more than any other sport I’ve played. I think this will be my life sport."
"I was definitely happy with everyone’s performance," Bussard said. "David was coming off a shoulder injury so he had a little confidence issue and I think this meet helped him regain his confidence. It was great for James to get that competition experience in and see what a real competition is all about. I think they will both be ready to go for the Junior Olympics."
The coach and weightlifters expressed gratitude to Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas, City Manager Billy Edwards, Assistant City Manager Ken Howard, the Liberty County Health Department, the United Way and the Liberty County Recreation Department. The organizations’ support allowed the team to make the meets and train for competitions, Bussard said.
The coach said six of her competitors, including Fox and Purser, will head to the AAU Junior Olympics next weekend.
"I want to get a 230K total lift there and I think that is possible," Purser said. "That is the big meet for the summer."
He said he plans to qualify for the Quebec Junior Championships in Canada and eventually work his way to becoming a world meet competitor.
Fox said he’s looking forward to next weekend’s Junior Olympics.
"I think it might be a little bit easier since I had the experience and my first meet. Overall, I think I’ll do pretty good," he said. "I’ve always dreamed of being on an Olympic team and I think if I keep doing this, I might have a chance. I really want to thank Jenna for getting me to where I am now and my mom for always supporting me in my activities."
Bussard thinks Team Hinesville will sweep the meet next weekend. "I’m very confident in my team and we will do what we have to do to bring it home," she said.