On May 15 to 17th, our nationals were held in Mississauga near Toronto. I’m told a total of 202 athletes were registered which is a sign that our sport is slowly growing. It always impress me how our teams remain competitive in America’s competitions and Commonwealth games given the relatively low number of participants. Usually quantity brings quality – but in our case we have managed to deal with the situation pretty well. Anyhow, a lot of good fights happened on the platform given that this was the last stop to qualify for Pan ams in Toronto. Obviously, every great Canadian weightlifter wanted to be on the team to represent their country on home turf.
The championship was held at the University of Toronto in Mississauga (Ontario). I would say that it was one of the best venue that I have seen. The warm up and competition area were very big and open – which is something many competition organizers fail to take into account. It is great to be able to warm up without feeling claustrophobic and it is great to be able to breathe.
In the warm up area, platforms were built in a pretty clever way. That is, there were two rows of platform but lifters did not lift face to face because the platforms were staggered. It looked great and it was pretty sturdy. Again faster sponsored the meet and some Klokov plates and bars were available for warm ups. I think people liked the esthetics of them – but at first the bars were oily and so were the plates! I am told this is due to them being brand new.
Once they were chalked up, it was much better and I think people liked them overall. May be next time we should make sure we open and chalk them up before the competition – but it wouldn’t look as nice (their brand new look is pretty decent). It was great to see them in real – but my personal opinion is that I prefer Eleiko. Still, it is pretty nice to see other brands coming up and willing to sponsor a weightlifting meet. The competition platform looked very great and people lifted on an Eleiko bar and DHS plates.
Attendance was huge! The bleachers were full at all time and people rooted for everybody – especially during hard lifts. Here are a few pictures – sorry for the quality.
Highlights of the competition
Many great performances happened last week end. I missed the 56 and 62kg class but saw pretty much everything else. For the men, it was great to see 16 years old Alex Bellemarre of Quebec improve once again in competition. He snatched 124kg at 69kg bodyweight which was good for a second place behind Francis Lunas Grenier. Alex has improved in every single competition he has been part of in the last year. It was a good show. It is a great achievement to get a silver medal at the Nationals when you are that young.
The 77 rolled in and it was a good show too. There were so many 77kg men that we had 4 groups over the week end. The gold went to Darryl Conrad of Manitoba with a 127/159 performance. Boisclair of Quebec got 2nd place by bodyweight. He did 128/158kg. It is great to see Boisclair moving up.
The best male session was by far the 85kg category. Simon Pratte – still a junior – got third with a 130/160kg performance. Boady Santavy of Ontario – still 17 years old – came with a special kind of hunger. He definitely wanted to go for the gold and his attitude on the platform is impressive. He got silver with a 145/175kg performance and he did clean 180! Pascal Plamondon got first with a 150/182kg performance. Plamondon was impressive because he was very sick for his competition and almost withdrew. Impressive how he managed 95%+ given the circumstances. He also received the best athlete of the meet.
The 94kg was dominated by David Samayoa who managed to hit PRs on the plateform. His lifting was incredible – I really got a kick out of watching him as I had not had the chance to see him live yet. Skipping to the 105+ (since I missed the 105), Kobaladze did not disappoint. I have nothing but respect and admiration for him.
On the woman side, Braddock dominated the 48kg and is set to go to the pan ams. She definately went for a guts performance opening very high and she made it work. Ruel (53kg) managed to hit 81/96kg for the gold. Jessica has a unique way of lifting that defies conventional wisdom – very cool to watch once again.
The 58kg were won by Lacey Van Der Marel who hits openers for a total of 185. As always Quebec Junior Tali Darsigny fought hard with Taylor Findlay of Ontario. Taylor came on top by 1kg with a 78/103kg performance (Darsigny hit 82/98). Taylor still had a third attempt after securing her second place and she came out to try and take the first place with a gutsy attempt at 107kg. This session was very nice to watch due to the number of medal contenders.
In the 63kg category, Marilou Dozois Prevost, 2008 Olympian took the gold medal home. It is great to see Marilou lift again. She is terrific on the platform and I hope to have the chance to see her lift again. Jessica Jean got silver and Cumetti got 3rd on bodyweight as three girls had the same total for the 3rd place.
The best woman session, according to me, was by far the 69kg category. Ares Pillon got 1st with a 214kg total. Ngarlem came in second and was the most surprising lifter of the session. She is closing in rapidly on her competitors (Pillon) as she totalled 210kg with a snatch, clean and jerk and total PR. Laylor improved so much ! The way she saved that 90kg snatch had the whole crowd go crazy and loud. Siemmens’ 111kg clean and jerk was crazy nice and impressive!
I’m very proud of the athletes I coached there. They are coming home with PRs (either in a lift or total). It was a great experience all around.
Drug testers were present and very aggressive in their pursuit. I’m told a total of 65 tests were done which is probably 65 tests more than anywhere else in Europe – haha. Joke aside, they tested groups at large and not just the podium. They tested I believe 6 to 9 athletes in pretty much every group. I have never seen anything like this. I have nothing against drug testing – It should happen and I support it and support a clean sport. That being said, if we do get tested that much – other countries should be tested as much to make the playing field even.
Losing a bet
I took a 20$ bet with BC strong girl Rachel Siemmens. The bet was that whoever gets the most likes on a picture on instagram would win 20$. I can’t believe I lost given I have 3x more followers but she somehow went home with a clean and jerk PR, and a 20$ in her pockets. Congrats – but next year the 20$ is mine.
Joking aside, I really liked meeting people from other provinces. Many people recognized me and came to talk to me. Thank you so much for reading me and following me. It has been a bit harder to post on here due to the amount of work I have on my plate – but seeing people’s interest in my work, it surely motivated me to do what I can to start posting in a regular fashion again.