Murray Bridge’s Janet Smith earns powerlifting world records despite injury

Janet Smith broke two world records this month – having quit her job and fought through a brutal injury just to get there.

The Murray Bridge weightlifter travelled to the United States last month for the World Powerlifting Congress World Powerlifting Championships.

But she almost didn't make it.

Only days before her departure, she was doing squats when she felt two adductor muscles, in her groin, rip right off the bone.

"It was horrible, very painful," she recalled.

"I just said to (Kevin Conway) I knew I couldn't do squats because of how the muscles were ... I felt my whole world coming down because it was so disappointing and I was in so much pain."

Conway, her coach, wanted her to cancel the trip, but she refused.

"I said 'please believe in me because I can still do ... the bench press and deadlift," she said.

She had resigned from her job because she could not get the time off to travel to the championships.

"It was a real struggle to stay focused on my training and my goals," she said.

"Which stinks, I thought, because I'm representing Australia."

So she endured a long and agonizing plane ride, bruises spreading across her leg and torso, to Orlando, Florida.

By the time she arrived, swelling had caused her to gain weight, so she chose to stop taking anti-inflammatories in an effort to drain her muscles and get back within her weight class.

After passing her weigh-in, she prepared for the three lifts required of all competitors.

"You've got to lie down, everything stretching and pulling," she said.

"I couldn't use my normal arch you'd use ... but I had a fire inside me, a determination to block out the pain and the adrenaline that got me to that point, which I did.

"It was all pretty emotional, unbelievable."

She managed to lift 60 kilograms in the squat, despite the torn muscles, to qualify for the competition.

She bench pressed 90kg and deadlifted 220kg, both world records in the 75-kilogram class for women aged 44-49.

Had it not been for the injury she would have gunned for the squat and overall records as well.

She won gold in the open women's 75kg category.

Despite the adversity she faced, she plans on returning to the world championships in Finland next year, where she will compete in a higher age category for the first time.

"It's a great unity of people, everyone's friendly and supportive," she said of the experience.

"I made new friends from all over the world.

"It was mad but exciting.

"I'd never have even dreamed of a world championship."

She thanked Conway, her travel agents, her sponsor and supporters.

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