No Holts barred in rivalry

Traralgon weightlifters Chris and David Holt both won gold at the recent Australian Oceania and Open Masters Weightlifting Championships. photograph hayley mills

Traralgon weightlifters Chris and David Holt both won gold at the recent Australian Oceania and Open Masters Weightlifting Championships. photograph hayley mills

A very healthy rivalry exists between weightlifters Chris Holt and his nephew David and it's one that drives them both to great heights.

"You need competition, you simply have to have it," Chris said.

"I look at Chris and go 'I'm going to kick your backside', and I'm sure he's looking at me thinking the same thing," David said.

Friendly family feuds aside, the pair are always each other's number one source of support.

Last month they journeyed to Hawthorn to the Australian Oceania and Open Masters Weightlifting Championships and eclipsed the field in their respective divisions.

Chris, 81, competed in the 80-plus class and clinched gold with a 45-kilogram lift in snatch and 60-kilograms in clean and jerk.

He also took home the gong for overall best male lifter – a title he said is "the one to aim for".

"I aim to do the best I can in the moment. If I win, it's a bonus," he said.

Not to be outdone, David, 50, matched his uncle's achievement in the 50-54 years division and took home the gold medal with a 65-kilogram snatch and 85-kilogram clean and jerk.

A number of David's fiercest rivals were late withdrawals from the event which he admitted was "the biggest frustration", but maintained it did not take the shine off his win.

"Based on their totals I would have had them beat by two kilos," he said.

"On the day it doesn't take anything away from it because you still want to try your best, do the best you can and get the results."

The duo train together four times a week in Chris' backyard garage-cum-gym and have come to expect a lot from themselves and each other. In August, they will compete again at the Alby Dutton & Bill Keir Memorial meet and have high hopes.

"I should be a body weight lighter in August and the record there is 43 kilograms and 47 kilograms, so I would expect to get them and would be disappointed if I didn't," Chris said.

"I'm aiming to get the Victorian records in my age and body weight. I want to be within a couple of kilos of those records," David said.

While he sticks to a fairly stringent exercise and training regime, Chris insists working the mind is as bigger battle as any.

"We are mind, body and spirit and if your mind isn't working then the rest of you won't work," he said.

After taking the sport up at age 14 the Traralgon resident has relied on one simple principle to get him through almost seven decades of lifting.

"What we rely on is nature, nurture and nutrition," he said.

"You're born with the nature you've got and you can't do much about it. Again with the nurturing, that depends on your parents and you can't do much about that.

"But nutrition, you have total control over."

For Chris, the competition in August could be his last on Australian soil before he jets to China later this year for one last hurrah – though nothing is set in stone.

"I knew China was coming up and I thought 'well, I'm going'," he said.

"I'm pretty sure I'll retire after China."

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