News for nerds

Barely a year after taking up a new sport, a teenager from an outback mining town has broken three of her own Australian records and claimed a national title in powerlifting.

Nyah Keep, from Newman in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, now has her sights on the world stage.

Powerlifting involves three lifts — bench press, deadlift and squat — which also count towards an overall total.

Nyah has returned from the Powerlifting National Championships in Adelaide with new records in her age and weight category for the squat, bench press and total.

“All the hard training is definitely paying off,” she said.

The 17-year-old set a squat record of 115 kilograms, exceeding her previous best by 7.5kg.

Her 70kg bench press bettered the record by 5kg, while her 322.5kg total eclipsed her earlier 310kg.

Nyah narrowly missed out on beating her own 142.5kg deadlift record.

Despite the strong results, she was “really shocked” to be named overall female teenage champion.

“I was so rapt once they called me up, I was pretty astonished,” she said.

“All my friends and teachers at school have come up to me and said they were watching [the livestream] and saying congratulations, so it feels pretty good.”

All in the family
Nyah’s dad Brad, a former competitive weightlifter and bodybuilder, is also her coach.

“From a young age we used to just wrestle around and muck around in the lounge room or out in the backyard,” Mr Keep said.

“She started going to the gym for some things and lifting weights, so I think she just realised that she’s naturally strong.”

For Mr Keep, who works in the mining sector, it has been an ideal partnership.

“I just pass on experiences that I’ve had in the past and she takes it all on.

“It works quite well … You don’t have to worry about gym buddies when you go to the gym and they don’t turn up.”

After just 12 months involved in powerlifting, Mr Keep is “very proud” of Nyah’s achievements.

“Normally someone has been training for years to get to those sort of weights and Nyah’s really accomplished that in eight to nine months, which is amazing,” he said.

‘Definitely a strong town’
Nyah’s success could trigger a powerlifting boom in Newman.

“A couple of my friends … are coming to the gym now and I’m trying to push them into doing some of the comps,” she said.

“I reckon more and more people from Newman will probably end up trying out powerlifting and [it] will probably become a big thing.

“‘[It’s] definitely a strong town.”

Nyah will now turn her attention to another local competition in November, before a possible international event in Manchester next year, while a move to weightlifting could also be on the cards.

But in the aftermath of the national championships in Adelaide, she has taken some time to relax and indulge.

“I went out to a couple of the wineries and pasta places, so definitely carbed up,” Nyah said.