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Team Hinesville still lifting
TJ Larkins cleans and jerks up 77 pounds to help qualify him for AAU Junior Olympics. - photo by Photo provided.
By rejuvenating Team Hinesville, Olympic weightlifting hopeful Jenna Bussard assumed a coaching role for the youth and young adults in the area, and her weightlifting team has already begun to excel.
In early June, Team Hinesville traveled to Savannah, and team member TJ Larkins lifted a combined total of 154 pounds, which qualified him to enter into the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympics in late July, Bussard said.
There’s a total of 37 people on the team, and Bussard admitted that her training and coaching of them has been a difficult, yet fulfilling task.
“My team members ages range from 8 to 24 years old, and they work out anywhere from three to seven days a week,” she said. “By training and coaching my team, I can keep them off the streets, and I can get them excited about the sport as they show signs of progress, and that makes me feel good.”
Despite the good retention rate of her team, Bussard said it can be hard to maintain the interest level of her team members because they have to endure a good amount of strength training.
She keeps them on a regimented training routine consisting of lifting, benching, squatting and abdominal work.
To help keep her team motivated and competitive, Bussard has been collecting local donations so they can compete in either Atlanta or Savannah at least once a month.
“We’ve been able to continue to compete and progress, and I’d like to take opportunity to thank the Liberty County Health Department who has made major donations to the team to keep my team members in competitions,” she said.
In May, Bussard competed in a national competition in Illinois where she placed third and qualified for another national competition in Alabama this winter, she said.
She can now collectively lift 480 pounds during a competition, and she is still on track for entering the 2012 Olympics as a weightlifter.
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