Weightlifters in Germany typically belong to teams sponsored by the athletic clubs in their cities or villages. A team can consist of lifters of different ages, genders, and weight classes. Competitions occur on Saturdays, when two teams compete against each other for a win. Lifters earn points according to how much weight they lift per their body weight. Competitions are referred to as “fights,” and attract crowds, who often pay for admission. Weightlifters are paid by the athletic clubs for their competition performances.
Nils Engbarth, age 16, lifts for the AC Kindsbach/Rodalben weightlifting team in Rhineland Pfalz, Germany. Nils has been weightlifting since age 14 and is trained by his grandfather, Ernst Schäfer, 1988 World Champion weightlifter, and his father, a former German National Champion weightlifter.
Q: How old were you when you started weightlifting?
A: I began weightlifting when I was 14.
Q: How often do you train?
A: I train 3 to 4 times per week, for about 2 hours each session.
Q: What is your best accomplishment in weightlifting?
A: I am the current Southwest German Champion. I also received Best Youth Weightlifter at this competition. I am also a member of the Rhineland Pfalz Youth Team. This year I will compete at the German National Championship, and hopefully I will win.
Q: Who is your favorite weightlifter?
A: Max Lang. Max lifts for the Chemnitz athletic club, and I got to see him lift recently at a competition against another club. He is an amazing lifter.
Q: What advice would you give to a beginning weightlifter?
A: Don’t get disappointed if your technique isn’t the best at the beginning. Keep working and never give up. If weightlifting is your passion, give it 110%.
Q: What do you like to do when you are not weightlifting?
A: I like to meet friends and play American football.