Vannara (Bitters, VB, Be2) Be competes in the 62kg category with current personal best weights of 120kg in the Snatch and 150kg in the Clean and Jerk. He loves takeaway food and enjoys a range of options when not working to lose weight for competition however, KFC is a strong favorite particularly gravy and chips.
His go to comp meal following weigh in is KFC gravy, followed by smashing down 20 Yakult’s.
When preparing to hit the platform Bitters pumps himself up for competition by sitting in the sauna, relaxing, warming his muscles and loosening up.
After trying all other sports at school, he turned to weightlifting. He first started lifting after being exposed to the sport during a compulsory trial session linked to fitness testing in year 7 P.E. Completed the compulsory testing, did quite well and was recommended to try out. Originally trying out for the team was an opportunity to get out of school. Now selected for the team to compete in school league competitions for Mount Lilydale under the guidance of Terry Dunn, Vannara made the decision to stick with weightlifting and get more serious following high school.
Vannara started taking it serious in 2009 just before making the Commonwealth Games team in Delhi. Once selected occasional training sessions became 2.5-hour sessions, 5 times a week with some double sessions, morning and night. This is Vannara’s second return to the sport following a 2.5-year break from lifting before returning for Glasgow, with similar time off before returning to qualify for Gold Coast
Trying to balance two full time jobs, training and family can often be hard making it hard to spend time with his two young daughters, Alice (nearly 3) and Sofia (9 months) with wife Charanay often being the sole carer and stay at home mum while dad works hard for his dream. Vannara juggles his time as best he can with 100+hours at work and 2.5-hours 3 times a week for training. The pressure at times can be tough, with family wanting him to finish and focus on work and family, however, wife Charanay spurs him to keep going motivating him and helping out with all the pare work and looking after the kids. His dream is to have his girls see him lift in the green and gold at least once more, so they can remember it if this is to be the last time. He says it feels great having the girls cheer on their daddy and making them proud, he hopes to show them they can do anything if they chase their dreams no matter how hard it may be.
Unsure whether to continue or wrap it up and hang up the boots, he is still passionate about the sport and enjoys the company of a great training group at Hawthorn Weightlifting Club (HWC, including team member Seen Lee.However, if he hadn’t made the choice to take up weightlifting Vannara is unsure what he would choose to do having represented Mount Lilydale at State Interschool Sport competitions for Soccer and Badminton. One thing is for sure Vannara is a very talented athlete.
Vannara considers his greatest achievements to be his personal best result in Delhi at first Commonwealth Games, and making a third consecutive Commonwealth Games Team. He attributes his success to coach, Anthony Dove, who has a world of experience with elite athletes, also coaching fellow team member Seen Lee. Anthony keeps Vannara focused and works hard crunching the numbers behind the scenes to keep him in top form.
So why should you get into weightlifting?
Vannara says ‘For an opportunity to get your body active, to do something that not many people can do, and an opportunity to represent the country and travel.