Rivals no match for best friends

Josh Wu

To most, if your best friend is also your sporting rival, people might suspect your friendship to be a little complex.

But that’s not the case for weightlifting hopeful Joshua Wu and his best friend and fellow competitor James Norman.

“The competition never affects our friendship, we are both encouraging of each other and want the other one to succeed,” Wu said.

The young Queenslander will debut in the 62kg class weightlifting competition at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF).

Competing against Wu will be his best friend and Australian champion James Norman.

“We both train very hard and our rivalry is one of the main reasons why we have had this success,” said 16-year-old Wu.

Norman said his relationship with Wu is healthy and extremely rewarding as it encourages both of them to push each other.

“Our relationship is one of helping each other out but when it comes to competitions we want one another to do well but we also want to win too,” said Norman.

“At the base of everything we are friends and need to have that friendship aspect at all times.”

However, Wu has an extra degree of spunk in his blood. The Queenslander’s older sister is Olympic diver and silver medallist Melissa Wu.

“She is a great mentor for me and tells me about her experiences and helps me deal with pressure and injuries,” he said.

Melissa Wu competed in the 2007 AYOF and for Joshua, having a sister who is an Olympian is inspirational.

“The success my sister has had really inspires me to strive to do well in weightlifting,” he said.

“I really want to be a champion like she is one day.”

But the life of a young weightlifter is no walk in the park. Wu said it is tough but he manages well.

“It's hard when you train five nights a week and you’re not getting home till after seven every night and as well as homework, I have to do a lot of extra stretching and recovery type things to do so I can manage my injuries.”

Wu has no shortage of support from his friends and helpful school teachers.

“My school friends and teachers are always asking me how my lifting is going and congratulating me on my achievements.”

His family is his biggest supporters. No person more proud than his mother Debbie.

“We are all very excited for Josh that he is soon to compete in the AYOF,” said Debbie.

“He takes his sport very seriously and is always striving to find ways to improve his training and competition performance.”

A grateful Wu praised his coach Miles Wydall for his help and advice on and off the platform.

“He is not only an awesome coach but a great man,” said Wu.

In preparation for the weightlifting competition, which runs from 17-19 January, both Wu and Norman concede that their friendship will only grow.

“We always, no matter what happens on the platform, remain friends,” said Norman.

But will Wu holding any hard feelings towards Norman if his best friend beats him?

“If James beats me, I am happy for him. As long as I know I have given it my all, I will not be disappointed with myself.”

You can follow Joshua Wu on Twitter: JoshWu7

Mohamed Taha