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Kanah Andrews-Nahu, New Zealand's Record Holding Weightlifter

Name: Kanah Andrews-Nahu

Location: New Zealand

Weight Category: -76kg

Age: 19

Personal Bests: Snatch 100kg | Clean & Jerk 120kg

Kanah Andrews-Nahu is certainly an impressive young athlete. At the age of just 19 she has already had more than 200 records for New Zealand, and plenty of medals too!

Kanah holds the current national senior records in both the -76 & -81kg categories. Before the weight category changes she also held the U15s, Youth, Junior and Senior records across 3 weight categories! Kanah's first competition at 13 years old scored her 9 National Records! Her first big comp logged on IWF website (where you can see her impressive portfolio of results) is the 2014 Pacific Cup, where she placed 3rd in the -75kgs with 62/81/143, at 13 years old.

Last year Kanah acheived not only bronze overall at the Junior Worlds, but also a snatch gold medal - the first gold medal for New Zealand at the IWF Junior Worlds!

In 2018, Kanah had the incredible opportunity to be the New Zealand flag bearer at the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina, as the only weightlifter on the NZ squad! Following the disqualification of the Gold medalist last year, Kanah also scored a bronze in the +63kg category here, becoming a Youth Olympic medallist!

We spoke to Kanah recently about her life as a weightlifter and got an amazing insight in to her competitive mindset! Kanah is a very positive and seems to love what she does & appreciate the opportunitites that have arisen! Read Kanah's Q&A below!

CS: How old were you when you started weightlifting and how did you get interested in it?

Kanah: I began weightlifting at the age of 12 when I was doing crossfit, however I did not participate properly in the sport until the age of 13 when I found my current coach Richie Patterson.

(Kanah's coach is Richie Patterson who is a also a 3 x Olympic games athlete & 2014 Commonwealth games gold medallist)

What is the best advice that Richie has given you?

Kanah: His best advice he's given is "show up", simple.

CS: How popular is weightlifting in New Zealand? Do you receive much support from your country?

Kanah: Weightlifting is very small in New Zealand in comparison to other countries, however the number of participants in NZ is growing which in turn increases the amount of people watching. This builds exposure and through this exposure we see the popularity of the sport grow. I receive an immense amount of support from friends and family as well as organisations such as Tower Insurance, The Don Oliver Youth Foundation, The North Harbour Club and Charitable Trust as well as businesses such as Bridgestone have supported my weightlifting journey.

CS: What are your current best lifts?

Kanah: My current PB's are:

Snatch = 100kgs

Clean and Jerk = 120kgs

Front squat = 130kgs

Back squat = 160kgs

I don't have a max pull, we don't max out our pulls.

CS: What is your training routine, how many times a week do you train? How important is structure in your daily routine to you and how do you stay so motivated?!

Kanah: Training at the moment is once a day from Monday to Friday. I have in the past trained twice on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with single days on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. This is dependent on how important the event is. Structure is very important to me, I study as well as train and I like to have down time when possible. It's important to have balance as this allows you to seperate yourself from everything going on.

By having seperation, I can focus on my goals at that time. Being able to focus helps me to keep my motivation, I know how to flick this on and off like a switch. It's important to let yourself relax at times, don't become consumed by always being in game mode.

CS: How do you like to relax when you aren’t training, do you have any hobbies outside of weightlifting? 

Kanah: I like to spend time with my family and my boyfriend when I have down time. Other than that, I'll study with the spare time I have and cook because I like to eat.

CS: What has been your most difficult and your favourite times of your weightlifting career so far?

Kanah: My Olympic campaign has definitely dished me some of the hardest pills I've ever had to swallow but also the most rewarding times in my weightlifting journey. I won my first and OWNZ's first gold medal on the world stage.

CS: Is this the qualification for the 2021 Olympics or Junior Olympics?

Kanah: I’m referring to the 2021 Olympics but all I can say is that the qualification system is complicated.

CS: We know that at the Junior Olympics in 2018 you were the flagbearer for New Zealand, what was that like? It's such an amazing opportunity!

Kanah: It was an amazing experience. It was one of the most honourable moments I’ve experienced as an athlete and it was the cherry on top to finish my last year as a youth athlete.

CS: What are your goals and aims for the future of your career in the sport?

Kanah: I have to come back to the drawing board with some goal. At the moment I'm just taking things day by day. BUT one goal I do have for my future is to stay happy. If you enjoy what your doing it's easier to keep going.

CS: What do you love the most about the sport?

Kanah: I love weightlifting because it allows something new. You see your weaknesses and strengths unravel right before your eyes, see you at your most vulnerable stages and strongest stages. I love that!

CS: Do you have any advice for girls who are just starting out in weightlifting?

Kanah: The advice I'd give to girls starting out is "Forget about everything else and be in the moment. Weightlifting has changed my life in so many ways, give it that chance to change yours".

CS: Can you tell us one unusual fact about you?

An unusual fact about me is I can eat two blocks of chocolate in one sitting. You'll never meet anyone who loves chocolate more than me 😂

Thank you to Kanah for talking to us, we wish her all the best for her weightlifting career which has certainly been impressive to date! With all of her hard work Kanah really deserves to go far!

- Team Canterbury Strength


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