Haylee claims two firsts in world kettlebell titles

Forbes' Haylee Redfern has claimed not one but two firsts for Australia in the IKMF World Championships in kettlebell.

The local personal trainer says it's an almost surreal win: representatives of 16 other countries were competing in France in a different time zone while the Australian team streamed live from a gym in Bendigo.

"It's taken me a long time to get my head around it," Haylee told the Advocate. "Because I wasn't actually there, I think it's delayed my feelings."

Kettlebell is a weightlifting sport and the titles were in the marathon style of kettlebell competition: that means repeated lifts for a solid 30 minutes.

No gloves, no putting the bells down.

Haylee lifts two 12kg kettlebells and in the long cycle - a clean and jerk action - she completed an incredible 327 repetitions in 30 minutes to take overall first in her class.

She then followed up by completing 423 repetitions in 30 minutes in the short cycle or straight jerk action which is shoulder to overhead.

Not only did she take out first in both her lifts but she secured her first Master of Sport in both.

It has been an intense month where Haylee has competed in four major competitions in four weeks after other events including State titles were rescheduled due to COVID.

Haylee also competes in shorter lifts with heavier weights so she's shifting between weight and endurance training.

As a mum of two boys and business owner - as well as the Active Farmers coordinator for Eugowra - her preparations have meant long hours in the gym before the sun and the kids get up.

She adds that it's as much about mind as body once you're on that platform and the 10-second countdown begins.

"It's like anything, the first thing to fail you is your mind: your body will keep going all day," Haylee explains.

"Mentally you have to be prepared, you need to get up on that platform and do what you've been doing in training."

While she's now having a well-earned recovery period she says she's in it for the long haul.

Kettlebell is in divisions based on the athletes weight and the weight they lift, but it is a sport that's open to people of all ages and Haylee hopes she has a long future in it.

Haylee only took up the sport of kettlebell in 2018 and she's actually been selected to represent Australia for a couple of years now, but COVID-19 has wrought havoc on the competition schedule.

Like many, she's hoping 2022 holds better and she's got her sights set on titles to be held in Portugal next year.

"Kettlebell is athlete funded, so I'd love to be able to get some sponsorship to get over there, to get to more worlds, and to offer those sponsors something in return," she said.

"We're hoping it will be an Olympic sport eventually, that would be absolutely awesome."

She's also incredibly appreciative of her family whose support makes it all possible.

Congratulations Haylee, and we look forward to covering your achievements in future.