PORT Elizabeth powerlifter Eugene Nolan will represent South Africa at the Commonwealth Championships in Auckland, New Zealand, next month.
Kabega Park-based strongman Nolan, 24, was selected after good performances at the 2013 National Powerlifting Championships in Pretoria last weekend.
Nolan won a gold medal in the senior men's category as the best lifter and he also received another gold for being overall men's best lifter in the SA Bench-Press Championship.
The annual Commonwealth Championships are held under the auspices of the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF).
Nolan said the competition comprised three specific areas: squat, bench-press and deadlift.
"Each discipline is designed to measure different areas of the competitor's strength and the sum of the best lifts determines the winner of any tournament.
"There were two of us lifters in the 120kg-plus category.
"I've been in the same weight division for the past three years and I managed to beat my opponent."
Nolan started powerlifting at the age of 21 after seeing an advert in a newspaper about the sport.
"This year's national championships were the highlight of my powerlifting career.
"I achieved two gold medals in one tournament and being selected for the SA team was just an amazing achievement.
"It was my best competition yet."
He said powerlifting was still a growing sport in the country and he hoped it would be registered as an Olympic sport in the future.
Nolan's expenses for the trip to New Zealand amount to about R33000.
"Each lifter is responsible for raising their own sponsorship and if I'm unable to raise the money I will have to forfeit my place in the national team."
Nolan will be joining Uitenhage's Aluskha September, who came out on top in her under-52kg category at the national championships two years in a row.
She has qualified automatically to compete in the Commonwealth Championships in Auckland next month.
Coach Jacque Knoesen said he had been working with Nolan for the past three years.
"He's a hard worker and he takes his training very seriously.
"Last year, he was competing with the under-23 juniors. This was his first time appearing against the seniors and he almost broke the national bench-press record."
Knoesen said he was excited for him. Nolan would continue to do well, even in international tournaments.