Masters Weightlifters from the Gayle Hatch Team among the Leaders in Age-Group Competition
The sport of Masters Weightlifting for athletes age 35 and over is exploding in popularity both in the United States and around the world. Nearly 2000 Masters athletes are now performing on the competition platform in more than 40 countries on six continents. The Gayle Hatch Weightlifting Team stands proudly among the international leadership of this exciting sport.
Masters weightlifters compete in age groups that start with 35-39, and go up to the 80-and-older group. They perform the Olympic snatch and clean & jerk lifts. The very best Masters weightlifters throughout the world meet each year in the World Masters Weightlifting Championships, organized by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF). The IWF is the organization that runs the World and Olympic Weightlifting Championships.
The Gayle Hatch Weightlifting Team has won the U.S. Masters Championships Mens Team title five times, and the Womens Team title twice. Hatch Masters lifters include some of the best in the world. Coach Hatch gives the same close guidance and personal attention to the Masters competitors as he does to Hatch Team athletes headed for the Olympic Games. "I am very proud of our Masters program," says Coach Hatch. "Of the more than 40 national championships that our team has won, our Masters Team has won seven. The term recreational does not apply to our elite Masters. They put great effort into their training and the results speak for themselves."
The man who stands at the center of the worldwide movement in Masters weightlifting the World Masters Chairman of the International Weightlifting Federation is none other than longtime veteran Gayle Hatch Team lifter Walter Imahara. Walter has served as the leader of worldwide Masters lifting and as the U.S. National Masters Chairman. During the 1960s, Walter was six times the U.S. National Champion in the 60-kilogram (132-lb) bodyweight class, and was one of the top-ranked weightlifters in the world. As a Masters competitor, Imahara has won many U.S. and world championships, and has set numerous World Masters records. In 1997, he won the award for being the best weightlifter in the world in the 60-64 age group. Walter ranks among the top 10 Masters lifters in the entire world. In 1997, at a bodyweight of 64 kg (141 lb), Walter set World Masters records in the snatch with 90 kg (198 lb), clean and jerk with 105 kg (231 lb), and in the total with 195 kg.
Another World Masters Champion on the Gayle Hatch Team is 80+ year-old Chuck Meole. Chuck has won numerous U.S. Masters and World Masters Championships and has set many World Masters records.
Lurline Struppeck has been one of the worlds leading women Masters lifters. In the 1960s, Lurline represented the United States in track and field competition against the Soviet Union, competing in the javelin throw. She has won gold medals at the U.S. Masters Championships, and was World Masters Champions. Lurline has also set several World Masters Records. Also winning a gold medal at the National Masters is Janice Talluto.
Other leading Masters competitors on the Gayle Hatch Team include Pete Talluto, Gary Glass, and David Meltzer. They are all ranked among the worlds best lifters in their age group and bodyweight class. They have all been National Masters Champions many times. In 1997 Meltzer won the "best lifter" award for the 45-49 Age Group at the U.S. National Masters Championships.
Also on the Gayle Hatch Team are Ted Yenari and Compton Figueira who have won several golds at the U.S. National Masters Championships. Other Hatch Masters who have won gold medals at the U.S. National Masters Championships include John Black (also a best lifter for his age-group winner at the Pan American Masters Championships), Milton Williams, Jim Peyton, Phil Chenevert, Bob McCarron, Wake Sparks and Ross DeNicola, Other medal winners include C.J. Bennett, Robert Craig, Nick Cuccio and Berlyn Wedgeworth.
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