Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Congratulations to Katrina Robertson for being accepted into the powerlifting Hall of Fame!!
When Clermont’s Katrina Robertson broke both legs in a serious motorcycle accident soon after finishing school in 1977, she was told she would never play sport again. In fact, so bad were her injuries, doctors feared at one stage that she may even lose a leg to amputation.
Sports-mad Katrina was shattered. Her ultimate dream had always been to represent Australia at one of the many sports she loved – swimming, athletics, basketball, netball, rowing and tennis.
After spending two years in and out of hospital and trying to learn to walk again, Katrina was finally told to find a career that allowed her to remain sedentary.
She began nursing studies at the Mackay Base Hospital in 1981, and later, in 1986, was accepted into university to study psychology. This surprised Katrina’s family and friends, as she had always been too busy having fun and playing sport to ever focus on study or schoolwork
But Katrina was determined and proved her commitment by passing all subjects with straight As. She then moved to Mackay permanently to open a private psychology practice.
Despite succeeding with her nursing and psychology studies, Katrina felt something was missing.
In 1994, she saw an article in Mackay’s Daily Mercury newspaper about the World Masters Games that would be held in Brisbane later that year.
Katrina decided, against medical advice, to try to get fit and participate at the games. She started training with Ken Ware at a local Mackay gym and by the end of the year had won two gold and two silver World Masters medals while competing in the discus, shot put, hammer throw and weight pentathlon.
After the World Masters success, Ken taught Katrina the basics of the squat, bench press and deadlift, and the pair headed off to a powerlifting competition in Townsville.
Katrina, by her own admission a powerlifting novice, broke the Australian deadlift record (202.5kg) in her first competition. She was, of course, hooked.
Katrina, in the true tradition of amateur sports, started training in an old gym next to a cane paddock, with her 70-year-old dad as coach, and without any financial support or sponsorship. She worked full-time in her psychology practice to make sure she could pay the bills.
Over the next five years, Katrina broke 31 Australian, 12 Oceania, 18 Commonwealth and seven world records.
In 1997, aged 37, she won the Women’s World Super Heavyweight Powerlifting Championship in South Africa, where she broke three world records and was dubbed “the strongest woman in the world” by the news media.
Katrina was Mackay’s ‘Daily Mercury Sport Star of the Year’ in 1996 and 1997 and was inducted into the Sporting Hall of Fame in 2001. She first appeared in the Guinness Book of Records in 1998.
Katrina retired from competitive lifting in 2001 but continues to be active in sport and is a regular on the public speaking circuit. She has also continued in her psychology practice, where she specialises in the health, sports and rehabilitation areas.