Special Olympics British Columbia British Columbia

SOBC athletes flex their muscles at Victoria Powerlifting meet

24 May 2018

A total of 19 Special Olympic BC athletes from across the province descended on Victoria for a chance to flex their muscles at the 2018 Vancouver Island Special Olympics Powerlifting meet on May 5. The meet was a prelude to the 2018 Vancouver Island Powerlifting Championships being held the following day.

Joanie Hayes, Competition and Youth Coordinator for SOBC, said it was incredible to see the competitors rally around one another at the event.

"Everybody goes into a competition with the idea of winning, but what struck me was just how supportive all the athletes were of one another," Hayes said. "Every athlete there was pushing their fellow competitors to do their best. It was an amazing display of sportsmanship."

Hayes said the event had a number of benefits for all the competitors. She said for some, it was their first-ever chance to compete, while for others, it was another chance to prepare for the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in 

Antigonish, NS, running from July 31 to Aug. 4.   

"You can see why some of these athletes are heading to Nationals. The talent level is incredibly impressive," said Hayes.

“The commitment, tenacity, and simple desire to improve themselves in this sport is evident in their day to day training but more especially at meets like the one in Victoria,” said Stewart.  

He said you could feel the excitement in the air, and the smiles and laughter coming from the athletes were infectious.  Stewart said he was amazed at how the three Mount Waddington athletes hugged and laughed and jumped up and down when they saw their fellow competitors succeed. He said what was more impressive was that most of those athletes they were cheering for they had just met for the first time. He said fellow coach Rob Engle described the athletes and coaches “like a huge family.”

“It wasn’t the fact that we witnessed athletes reach their personal bests in lifts, but how 20-plus athletes were screaming at the success of each lift,” said Stewart.  “The cry’s echoed throughout the gym all day. There might have been a few tears of pride shed as well.”

Stephanie Needham, the VIPC meet director who helped coordinate the event, said she was impressed with the level of talent of SOBC athletes and hopes they can build on the momentum going forward.

"The athletes put on a great show and they have such a great group of coaches," Needham said.

She said the British Columbia Powerlifting Association was more than happy to provide SOBC with all the equipment needed for this sanctioned meet, and they got a helping hand from Popeyes's Victoria, who sponsored the event and gave each SOBC athlete a gift bag.

SOBC powerlifting athletes and coaches pose for a group photo after the Vancouver Island meet.

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