EMMA BAILEY/ Fairfax NZ
GOOD STASH: Another to add to the kitty, Lizelle Pelser with the bronze medal she won at the Oceania Karate Championships.
The eve before she was to compete in the Oceania Karate Championships, Lizelle Pelser found herself running in Fiji’s 30 degrees Celsius heat to drop 1.3 kilograms.
It all paid off for the determined Timaru woman who emerged victorious, with a bronze medal in kumite, which is sparring.
Pelser, 39, represented New Zealand in the Championships in Suva, on September 12 and the following Saturday.
She went to weigh in on the Thursday night and was 69.3kg, a problem as she was competing in the 68kg-and-under class.
“They had the scales on the carpet. I’m sure it wasn’t right, I had weighed myself before I left New Zealand and I was fine.
“I was told to weigh in the next day, so I put on my long sleeved shirt and trousers and went running in the heat, it was 30C. I went running three times. It was more stressful than the actual tournament.”
The next day she weighed in and she was 66.2kg.
“There is no way the first weigh-in was accurate. Once I weighed in and was okay I felt like I had already won a gold medal.
“I was going through all the emotions, I couldn’t believe I had gone all that way, and the community had sponsored me, to just be disqualified.
“One of the younger boys, who was 14, was above his weight class too, but he is still growing.”
However she battled on.
“I just focused on one bout at a time, I had to get through the preliminaries to get to the finals,” she said.
It was the first time she had represented New Zealand.
“It was a really amazing experience and the medal was a bonus I wasn’t expecting. I loved Fiji, everything ran on island time. The medal ceremony wasn’t until 10pm at night.”
The gym owner only returned to karate last year after a break to have children. Previously she has represented South Africa.
Pelser started when she was 17 and 18 months later was selected for the South African junior team. She represented her country from 1993 to 1999 as a junior and a senior. She relocated to Timaru in 2005 when her husband was offered a job here.
She holds a fourth dan black belt. A dan is earned two years after your black belt.
– South Canterbury