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She’s a rep touch player, top netballer, super mum to four and now Mihiwaatara Hohepa is a CrossFit podium finisher.

Mihiwaatara, who is a moderation co-ordinator working at Te Puna Mātauranga, placed third in the majors category for females at the recent Rising Stars CrossFit competition held in Hamilton.

The majors is the highest of the three categories at the Rising Stars event, the other two being rookies and minors. 

This category is meant for CrossFit athletes who have been training for at least 12 months and have experienced some level of competition in the sport previously.

But like the other 15 kaimahi from Te Puna Mātauranga who had been training since February and entered the competition with no experience in the sport, Mihiwaatara went into Rising Stars having never been in a CrossFit event.

Coach and fellow TPM kaimahi Kaeley Elkington entered Mihiwaatara in the majors section, something that initially made her nervous.

“We didn’t get to choose what category we were in and I was nervous about it and wanted to to go into the minors category,” Mihiwaatara said.

Over the course of the Rising Stars event, competitors had to complete four workouts, known in the sport as ‘WODs’ (workout of the day).

Each WOD is a highly-intense series of exercises and/or weightlifiting movements held over an agonising seven to nine minutes.

The aim for competitors is to complete as many repetitions and/or weightlifting movements during each WOD.

Mihiwaatara was anxious about WOD 2, a gruelling weightlifting event where competitors lifted weights starting at 35kg and increasing by 5kg, every minute for eight minutes, to a maximum of 70kg.

The goal in this WOD is to complete as many lifts as possible above your head to increase your combined total of kilograms lifted.

It becomes increasingly more difficult as competitors, who lift hundreds of kilograms through the WOD, begin to fatigue.

Mihiwaatara lifted a total of 1575kg – and placed second in the event that had her most worried.

“I saw my coach Kaeley and my other friends right in front of me and I lifted what I think was a personal best for me which was 60kg,” said Mihiwaatara.

“It felt pretty amazing having lifted all that weight before then and considering when we first started in March I think I was just using the bar for some of the lifts.”

With her nerves settled and having set a personal best in what she thought would be her biggest challenge, Mihiwaatara thought she may have a chance to place at the event.

And she did.

“Going into the third and fourth WODs I was excited. There wasn’t much between one and four in the final WOD and I was placed fourth but somehow I managed to squeeze through to third. I was so stoked.”

“It was an amazing day, and it was awesome participating with a group of very cool people. We are really lucky that we have such a good crew from Krickt Rd and such awesome coaches in Kaeley and Alieta (Waitoa).”

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