Sisters lifter is a world champion
Last updated 6/1/2021 at Noon
Sisters resident Jennifer Banning scaled the heights of Olympic lifting in the IWF Masters World Championships.
Banning, competing in the Women’s 50-54 age group and the 55-kilogram (121 pound) weight class, won gold across the board in the snatch and the clean and jerk to become the 2021 World Champion. The event was held virtually via Zoom under the auspices of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) last week, in order to adhere to COVID-19 restrictions.
Banning lifted 56k (123.459 pounds) in the snatch, where the lifter “snatches” the barbell off the floor, directly overhead in one continuous motion. An above-bodyweight snatch is a remarkable accomplishment, and Banning said she is “super proud” to have achieved it.
In the clean and jerk, the lifter “cleans” the barbell to the shoulders, then “jerks” it overhead. Banning’s gold-medal clean and jerk was 70 kilograms (154.324 pounds).
“I almost made 74 (163.142 pounds), but not quite,” she said. “I have to save something for next time, I guess.”
The virtual event was a complex undertaking across multiple time zones, requiring documentation of weigh-in and observation by judges to ensure that each lift was a “good lift.” Banning Zoomed in to the competition from her home gym, where she trains three to four times per week.
“You did it through Zoom,” she said. “It’s really kind of amazing.”
The virtual nature of the tournament had upsides and challenges, Banning acknowledged. Not having to travel to an international event was a good thing. Banning has previously traveled to Montreal, Canada, for international competition.
“It takes something out of you,” she said.
On the other hand, there’s no electricity in the air from being at a major event, no outside impetus to deliver competition-level performances.
“It’s super different, because you’re not in the heat of battle with somebody beside you. You don’t have that energy,” Banning said. “That’s something you have to manufacture.”
Banning was able to build her own energy and deliver on her best efforts. The above-bodyweight snatch was a personal record.
Olympic lifts require excellent technique as well as main strength. Banning trains with the local lifting club, Drive Barbell.
“Adam Hamilton is my coach,” she said. “He’s really great — also a good friend.”
Having a support network of lifters is important in keeping at it when training gets tough.
“Sometimes, in the middle of a training cycle, you think ‘Why do I do this?’” she said.
As with any challenging endeavor, pushing into the space where those dark doubts abide makes breaking through all the sweeter.
“To actually do hard work and see the fruits of your labor is super gratifying,” Banning said.
Especially when the fruits of labor are accompanied by the laurels of a world