SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - There were many new faces competing in the 2018 provincial powerlifting and bench-press championships at the Credit Union Place on Saturday.
Rookies Kara Arsenault and Nicholas A’Hearn stepped onto the platform in an individual performance and attempted to raise the bar with as much weight on as possible in a squat, bench press and deadlift sequence. They had three attempts at each.
“I play roller derby and my friend Kelly Doyle was powerlifting and asked me to join. I started at the gym, and then began powerlifting with John MacDonald in Charlottetown and I fell in love with the sport,” commented Arsenault, who started powerlifting in January.
“I am stronger than I ever imagined, and it’s uplifting to see all these women involved,” she added.
Arsenault, who competed in the Classic Women (age 40-49) division, excelled against some of the Island’s toughest competitors and broke the provincial record for the squat, and twice for the bench press.
A’Hearn, started in March under the same coach with whom Arsenault is training, was awarded a Gold medal for the 105-kilogram ‘Open’ (age 24-39) men’s division.
“I have a winning mentality,” noted A’Hearn. “I really wanted to start something new at the gym and a friend recommended powerlifting. I started training with John MacDonald, and now I’m competing in provincials. It’s amazing considering I have never done any powerlifting before.
“First, I started training with John three times a week, and I just loved it so much that I now train five times a week. It’s given me a drive, and I feel strong physically and mentally.”
A’Hearn acknowledged the positive vibe at the event, which is recognized by Sport P.E.I. and the Canadian Powerlifting Union.
“People really encourage each other here,” he concluded.
MacDonald, coach and president of the P.E.I. Powerlifting Association said, “We’re happy with the turnout and this is a real rookie event this year. A lot of new members have joined the sport and it’s great to see how well they are doing."
He continued, "We did have a movement a few years ago where we got more women involved. My girlfriend and I were training people in our garage and we hosted women only Meets, the first in Canada, so this event is the result.”
Among the 33 participants, 20 were women.
“We did a seminar in Morell and Montague a few years back and a group of girls joined, and its kept growing,” added MacDonald.
The provincial championships are a qualifier for the regional Eastern Championships, which will kick-off at the Credit Union Place on Friday, August 31.
“More than 130 lifters will participate over a couple of days, and we are also bringing in a famous announcer. Geno 'Powerlifting' Biancheri does all the world championship announcements for powerlifting, so we will accommodate him.
“We need our volunteers out, and I will be wearing multiple hats that day – if im a lifter or assisting the participants, I will be busy one way or another,” concluded MacDonald.
For more information on the results go to www.powerlifting.ca/prov/pei/2018_pei_provincials.php.