This past June is when Canada hosted the North American Powerlifting Championships, and soon the Canadian Powerlifting team will have the privilege to step onto the international stage again, in their home country, at the Commonwealth Championships. This years’ Commonwealth Championships will be hosted in Richmond, British Columbia at the Olympic oval. Team Canada will be defending multiple titles, and world records as they send the best of the best to take on the rest of the Commonwealth countries.
One of the athletes that will be competing at the Commonwealth Championships is a sub-junior who hails from Calgary named Deston Yee. Deston is currently ranked first in the bench only competition and third in the three lift competition in the 83 kg sub junior class, which isn’t bad considering this is his first international competition. In Deston’s first and only year of powerlifting he has competed in four three lift competitions, and in one bench only competition and is looking forward to giving it his all at the Commonwealth Championships. Right now, Deston holds the Canadian National record in bench press so it is no surprise that he prefers bench press over squat and deadlift. Outside of lifting Deston plays basketball and badminton and is in grade 12 at Central Memorial High School. He plans on attending university after he graduates.
Another young athlete to keep an eye on is Jason Luo who trains out of Edmonton. Jason attends the University of Alberta in the faculty of science and dedicates all of his spare time to Powerlifting. Jason started lifting two years ago, with his first meet being Power Surge in 2013. Originally, Jason’s heart was set on weightlifting, but after a friend urged him to compete in Powerlifting he was immediately hooked to the sport.
Jason has a fair bit of experience as he has competed at the National level and at the 2015 International Powerlifting World Championships. To top it all off, he also holds all the National records for 59 kg Junior class, as well as the National Open squat record.
Right now, Jason is going into the Commonwealth Championships ranked first in the 59 kg Junior class and is hoping to come out with gold.
Accompanying these two athletes and the rest of Team Canada is the appointed Head Coach and the Alberta Powerlifting Union President, Avi Silverberg. Avi’s athletic career started in swimming, where he competed on the national team. After Avi retired from swimming he was steered into powerlifting by some local lifters from the University of Calgary. This lead him to compete on the World stage three times and claiming the National bench press record in the 120 kg open class.
As a coach, Avi’s favorite competitions to go to are the Canadian National Championships because it is about more than just lifting -- it's also about the community.
Avi started coaching through working at the Calgary Olympic Oval as a practicum student and strength coach for the hockey, speed skating, and football teams. He then decided to complete a Master’s degree in Kinesiology with a focus on Master-aged powerlifters at the University of Victoria. Since then, Avi has coached at four World Championships and runs his own coaching company called Pursuit of Strength. His favorite aspect of coaching is the complexity that comes along with managing different lifters and ever-changing competition variables.
Being immersed into the coaching world has lead Avi to some very proud moments, such as coaching Team Canada at the 2015 World Championships in Finland, watching Kelly Branton claim third overall out of all classic men at the World Championships, and most of all watching his own mother break National records at 63 years of age. Going into the Commonwealth Championships Avi is hoping to develop a positive team atmosphere in order to aid every competitor to reach their highest potential, and of course, secure the highest rankings possible. Overall, Team Canada has a promising chance of claiming multiple world records and awards so it will be an exciting week in the city of Richmond!
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