Isabella Devetak will represent Australia at the Commonwealth Power Lifting Championships in Vancouver next month. Picture: Peter StoopWE all have weights to bear, but the burdens Cardiff powerlifter Isabella Devetak has had to carry in the last 11 weeks puts ‘‘heavy’’ into perspective.
The 17-year-old was selected in May to represent Australia at the Commonwealth Power Lifting Championships in Vancouver, Canada, next month.
She sat her HSC in October, taking on 13 units, three above the standard.
But just before those crucial exams began her house burned down and she had to prepare for these defining challenges from the confines of her grandmother’s house.
‘‘It’s been a busy couple of months,’’ Isabella said with just a hint of understatement.
‘‘I was in Queensland competing when Joel [Isabella’s stepfather Joel Hudson, who runs Cross Fit Never Say Never at Cardiff] called and left a message telling me to ring urgently.
‘‘Then I got a message on Facebook from my neighbour: ‘Call ASAP, your house is on fire, I’m being serious’.’’
An electrical fire caused by a faulty washing machine left the house she’d grown up in unliveable and so the family moved in with their grandmother.
‘‘It was in the middle of a HSC assessment, all my notes for all my subjects [Isabella is studying advanced English, 3U maths, bio, chem, sac, community and family studies] were smoke-damaged.’’
Living with such disruption at such a crucial time for someone who is usually so organised was, as Isabella says, ‘‘different’’.
But she applied the same fortitude and effort to her studies as she does her lifting.
It will probably be another six months before the family can even think about returning to the house.
Meanwhile, Vancouver looms.
‘‘It’s been quite tough,’’ said Isabella’s stepdad Joel, who is also the national under 23s coach.
But he has high hopes for her.
‘‘We saw potential with anything with strengths and when she went into comps, we saw the numbers and knew straight away she would be in or around the Australian records and she smashed those in her second comp.’’
Isabella will compete in the under18, 72kg class, where she holds the national records for bench press (57.5kg), back squat (110kg) and total of all three lifts, 282.5kg including the dead lift.