IT'S addictive, empowering and liberating, and now local weightlifters are rejoicing: Their favourite sport has officially hit Gladstone.
The culture of weightlifting was launched in Gladstone at the weekend with the help of Commonwealth Games athletes, coaches and local diehard fanatics.
Tia Toomey, 21, is the brains and brawn that has inspired change in the fitness scene locally.
With her eyes firmly set on representing Australia in the sport, Toomey has been involved in weightlifting for only six months, but is already ranked eighth nationally.
"Weightlifting is a component of crossfit, but we thought let's take it to a whole new level. By focusing on weightlifting as a sport, we are looking more at technique and precision," she said.
"We've already had such a fantastic response.
"There is so much interest from people you would never expect."
Nine women lined up to compete on Saturday afternoon, with a starting weight of 25kg.
The rising trend of strong women is a source of pride for Brisbane-based coach Angela Wydell whose athletes have competed in Commonwealth Games and at international titles.
"The potential here in Gladstone is huge," she said.
"I started out just like these ladies. It's a very addictive sport. Women in particular tend to surprise themselves with how strong they are and how good it makes them feel."
The women were not alone on Saturday afternoon with the men impressing judges, spectators and Commonwealth athlete Rob Galsworthy alike.
Having represented Australia as many as 30 times, Galsworthy said his humble introduction to the sport resembled the meet held at Crossfit Gladstone on Saturday.
"It's great to see the sport really coming into its own," he said.
"It's great to see so many willing to give it a go."
- 1st: Shane Orr
- 2nd: Dave Capill
- 3rd: Richard Lucker
- 1st: Zoe Appleyard
- 2nd: Maddy Black
- 3rd: Emma Zawila