BENDIGO is home to several world-class kettlebell athletes - and soon the city will get to host the world championships.
Organisers of the International Kettlebell Marathon Federation (IKMF) World Championships this week confirmed Bendigo would host the 2022 event.
In an exciting warm up, the city has also been chosen to host the Oceania Championships for three consecutive years, starting in 2020.
It will be the first time the IKMF World Championships have been held in the Southern Hemisphere.
More than 300 competitors, representing 20 countries, are expected to compete, with the Australian team likely to include several athletes from Bendigo's Rock Hard Training/Kettlebells.
Their coach Don Grant - himself an Australian representative and world record holder - said the host rights were the realisation of a long-held dream.
"There's been a lot of work in the last six months, probably more, to get to this point," said Grant, who introduced kettlebell training to Bendigo in 2008.
"It's huge and exciting for Bendigo.
"Back in 2016 was the first time we had an Australian team that was all Bendigo (athletes) that qualified for the world championships. Ever since then we have had a big representation."
Bendigo Rock hard Training/Kettlebells has produced a line of world champions and record holders, among them Melanie Harris, Jen Fletcher, Maxine Smith and 15-year-old Georgia Welsh, who is the youth world champion.
After travelling to events across Australia and world-class events overseas across the last few years, Grant said it was exciting for the Bendigo athletes to get a chance to compete in international events in their hometown, starting with the 2020 Oceania championships next July 3 to 5.
"The Oceania championships will be good preparation for everyone (athletes and organisers), to iron out any kinks ahead of the world championships," he said.
Bendigo is set to have athletes compete at this year's world championships in Poland and the following year in Dublin.
City of Greater Bendigo manager tourism and major events Terry Karamaloudis said he was delighted that Bendigo was chosen as the first city in the Southern Hemisphere to host the world championships.
"The significant investment at Bendigo Stadium allows the city to compete for hugely popular international sports and we look forward to welcoming kettlebell competitors for the two major events."
Nearly 30 athletes train under the guidance of Grant at his East Bendigo gym, including four of the eight athletes named on the Australian kettlebell marathon team.
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