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Dublin: 20 °C Tuesday 17 July, 2018
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Irish teenager Serena Pierce on making a big impression in the powerlifting world

More and more women are hitting the gym to lift, says the Macroom native.

Pierce at the recent world championships event.
Pierce at the recent world championships event.
Image: Serena Pierce

IN THE SEARING heat of Malta at the start of June a Cork powerlifter was making her mark on the global stage.

At the WDFPF 2018 World Single Lift Powerlifting Championships, Macroom native Serena Pierce had a weekend to remember.

By the end of the action, the 19-year-old came away with world glory, courtesy of three first-place finishes.

If that wasn’t enough, in the process of her successes she also broke two world records and an Irish record.

“It was a very good weekend,” explained Serena. “The world records were in the deadlift and the bench. Then I got the Irish record in the squat.”

Already in her career, Serena has achieved a hugely impressive amount in the sport for such a young age, with a total of 10 World Titles and 19 Irish titles in the bag.

Powerlifting is ever growing in popularity, with more and more women now participating in the sport.

That is something which Serena, who trains out of the Innovation Gym in Macroom in Co Cork has also noticed.

“A lot more people are getting into it. Especially with girls in more recent times,” she says.

“A lot of people are noticing how popular it is and then start doing it themselves. There is definitely an increase in numbers.”

Serena’s three world titles were secured by successfully completing lifts in the three different stipulations which she was involved in. They are the squat, the bench press and the deadlift.

For those unfamiliar with the different techniques, she was only delighted to explain these terms.

“The squat is when you have the bar on your shoulders and you squat down. You have to go down to a certain level to get the lift.

“The bench is when you are lying on the bench and you push it off your chest. When you bring it down to your chest you have to hold it for a second and then push up, so that makes it a bit harder.

“Then the deadlift is when you bring the bar off the floor, hold it and bring it down.”

What is perhaps even more remarkable for the success of Serena is what she has achieved in the sport in such a short space of time.

“I started when I was about 14. So I have been at it about four or five years now,” says Serena.

“It was something to do really. The strength training, I wanted to get a bit bigger and I liked it, so I kept it on.

“I do about one to two hours, three days a week, maybe four days a week sometimes. I do one lift each day and focus on that. I really enjoy it. ”

One of the main keys to her success is trainer and father, Tony. He is a legend of the powerlifting game in his own right and for Serena, having someone with such vast experience in her corner is an absolutely valuable asset.

“Since the day she started, she has been making just fierce improvements,” says Tony.

“To go over there and come back with two world records, she now has 10 world records now today, that is some achievement for any girl at her age.

“To be honest about it, I’m with her all the time and she listens to me. Every time we go to competitions, she makes great gains in fairness to her.”

Tony has been in Serena’s corner from the very first moment she took up the sport just a mere five years ago.

“She could hardly lift a bar. But we worked on her technique. After a year I could see she was making fierce gains, so we entered her in competition.

“Her first competition was the national championships inside in CIT in Cork. She got a couple of Irish records there and also actually a European record as well.

“From there on, she loved it. The gains she has made are fantastic and all she is doing is breaking records.”

Tony himself of course in one of the most iconic names in Irish powerlifting and has numerous world titles to his name.

The sport plays a massive role in Tony’s life and that looks like it will never, ever change.

“It is my life to tell you the truth. I got started years ago in Bandon and I was only about 16. I am at it all that time since then.

“I love it. It is my passion. What I have seen over the years, how it has grown, it is brilliant.

“To see Serena taking up the sport, I will definitely never give it up now anyway.”

Next on the agenda will be focusing on the World Full Powerlifting Championships . They take place in Scotland this coming November.

Macroom is presently home to a family which have firmly established themselves on the global Powerlifting stage.

The support they get from the local community in the town is fantastic, something which is evident by the fundraisers which have been held over the past few years to help fund their trips to the various championship events.

There is a strong and committed group of people who rally behind the Pierce family to help them achieve their sporting goals and they are extremely grateful to everyone that has helped to contribute to their journey in the Powerlifting world.

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