Three of Prince Albert’s own junior weight lifters will represent the province at the 2014 Canadian Junior Weightlifting Championships in Scarborough, Ont. on Jan. 18.
Prince Albert natives Rene Bell, 15, Hannah Jacobson, 13, and Josh Kapicila, 19, will join seven other lifters from Regina and Saskatoon at the event, where their coach Ken Trofimuk said they have a real shot at collecting some medals.
“I am hoping that between the three of them, depending on who other provinces send, we might have some medal contenders out of the three from Prince Albert,” Trofimuk said of his three athletes who train with him at 4 Horsemen Fitness.
This year’s event will be Bell’s second appearance at the competition, for Jacobson, it will be her first after she made the transition from hockey to the sport of weightlifting. Kapacila, who will also be competing in his first Junior Championship, has his athletic roots in crossfit training.
“Hannah is very new to the sport,” Trofimuk explained. “She’s a hockey player and she was doing weight training for hockey and then her trainer suggested that because she is small, that weightlifting might be a sporting avenue she can pursue. She is doing quite well.”
The Junior Championships will feature the country’s top junior lifters. Trofimuk said his trio of competitors stack up well against the field of lifters, even those from Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia who are expected to be the gold medal front-runners.
Since he is heavily involved with the Saskatchewan Weightlifting Association, Trofimuk knows what they are up against.
“They will not be out of place,” Trofimuk said of the trio of Prince Albert lifters. “They are not going to be gold medal contenders but they will be in the mix for a silver or bronze.”
While this will be Kapicila’s last junior competition as he enters senior status upon his 20th birthday, the future is bright for Bell and Jacobson and the sport of female weightlifting.
In reflecting on the sport’s development, Trofimuk noted the 2012 London Olympic Games, where Canada sent three female weightlifters and no males, to the games .
It was at the 2012 London Games that Christine Girad of White Rock, B.C. became the first Canadian female to win an Olympic lifting medal, taking home the bronze in the 63 kg event.
“For them (Bell and Jacobson) to compete in weightlifting is thinking outside the box,” Trofimuk said. “It’s not a traditional women’s sport, but when you look at weightlifting in Canada, the women’s lifting is far superior to the men’s.”
More information about the Saskatchewan Weightlifting Association, including results from last year’s National Junior Championships, can be found on their website at www.saskweights.ca.