It doesn’t seem like much, right? Guess again. It was 6kg that kept Shane Wagner from jetting off to Poland in 2015 to compete at the Junior World Championships. But don’t be surprised if you see him in the near future take to the platform to challenge the best  lifters the world has to offer. 
The young powerhouse, who trains under the watchful eye of Greg Hobl, is one of the best junior weightlifters in Australia at the moment.  

Domestically, the 19-year-old has been tearing it up at competitions, along with his training mate and “life partner” Ben Shaw. Since missing out on Poland, Wagner has added another 2kg to his weightlifting total (278kg) to put him within reach of qualifying for World Juniors in 2016. Most recently he took out Best Junior Lifter at the 2015 Queensland Championships and will head to Melbourne in August to compete against the nation's top lifters at the Australian Championships. OLYFIT spoke to Shane about his career to date, including his training regime and following in the footsteps of his father.

When did you get into weightlifting and where do you train?
I’ve been weightlifting since I was 13. This is my seventh year, so I have just finished my sixth year. I’m a 94kg lifter living in Toowoomba training with Ben Shaw at the Mt Lofty School. My Dad, Stuart Wagner, knew my coach Greg, and I just started up and he got me into it. I just loved it. I currently hold Queensland records for the snatch, clean and jerk, and total at 125kg, 153kg and 278kg. I believe I am ranked third-fourth in Australia for junior males.

What made you choose weightlifting and what do you enjoy most about it?
I played soccer for seven years prior to weightlifting, hurt my ankle and then I started weightlifting. I just loved the atmosphere and really enjoyed it. Can’t really pick why I chose it over any other sport at the time. Now I don’t know what I’d do without it, it’s my passion.

How often are you at the gym and what do you do to prepare for competitions?
I train five to six days a week — only once on those days; I can't do double days due to work. Leading into a comp like Nationals (Australian Championships), it is usually around a 10 to 13 week (give or take, depending on the circumstances) preparation, which consists of a strength phase and a competition phase. As I get nearer to the comp the intensity drops as I prepare, and then I taper the week before the comp as a final preparation to make sure my body is in fighting form. Also, I make sure my bodyweight is on the right track about two weeks out from the comp. I start to cut weight if I need, because I usually train at about 96 to 97kg.

What are your max lifts, favourite lift and what lift would you like to avoid?
My best lifts are 125kg snatch and a 153kg clean and jerk for a 278kg total. Those are my best lifts. My favourite lift is definitely the jerk off the rack. My max jerk is 165kg. Least favourite? Deficit deadlifts. I hate deficit deadlifts because that is where I'm the weakest. Lifting the bar from the ankle to the knees is where I struggle. It's above the knees where my power kicks in.

What has been your biggest highlight or greatest achievement?
Probably making Oceania Championships teams and Pacific Games teams. I made Oceania teams in 2011, 2012 and 2014, I believe, and went to the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships in Malaysia in 2013. That was probably my biggest comp yet. It was Commonwealth level sort of thing.

What short-term and long-term goals are you trying to achieve?
I’ve got to beat Ben Shaw, I’ve got to do that. I want to make the Commonwealth Games and Olympics. The World team is next year, that is sort of my main focus at the moment, making Junior World Championships. I also want to hit A-Grade total. A-Grade is 282kg total, so I am only 4kg away.

You’re following in the footsteps of your father. Tell us about his achievements.
My Dad’s achievements were placing second at Australian Seniors in the 83kg class, 1995; Queensland Senior Champion six times in the early-mid 1990s, usually in the 83kg class, but also in the 75kg and 91kg classes; he held various Queensland senior records in the 75kg and 83kg classes. Best lifts at 83kg were snatch, 120kg; clean and jerk, 146kg. Also, he was the Queensland Weightlifting development officer for a couple of years, around 1991 and 1992 and also went to the Trans Tasman Cup (Australia versus New Zealand) and came second.

Is there someone you look up to in weightlifting, or sport in general?
My Dad. He is the one who got me into this sport. A recent comp I lifted in is the first time I’ve ever beat his PBs so it was a big achievement. He’s all for it. He was waiting for the day I beat him, so it was good.

Finally, is there anyone you would like to thank?
My coach Greg Hobl, Ben Shaw and definitely my parents, really. They’ve been supportive, especially my Dad. He is the one who got me into it. I can’t thank him enough.