Ontario Weightlifting Championships an Uplifting Experience

By Bob Peters
April 2, 2012

Isabelle DesprésIs Cornwall on the Olympic Weightlifting map?

It is as of this past weekend.

Upwards of 250 supporters and fans took in some of the day-long action on Saturday, when the Ontario Senior Weightlifting Championships came to the Seaway Valley for the first time — and to the eastern Ontario region for the first time in two decades.

It was a pretty spiffy venue —the main lecture auditorium at NAV CENTRE.

“Not bad, eh?,’’ said event organizer Tyler Touchette.

“Not too bad for (a small city, hosting for the first time) . . . all of the coaches are very happy with the venue, it’s one of the nicest for the sport (in Ontario).’’

Touchette played an integral role in bringing the championships here — he’s the owner of Caveman Strong, and the coach of a young team that seems to have tremendous growth potential.

Already, Caveman Strong has a competitor on the international stage — St. Joseph’s Catholic Secondary School student Kelly McGillis, 15, who took up weightlifting just last July, has qualified for the Youth World Championships in Slovakia in September.

Kyle Pichie, 24, and 26-year-old Josiane Secours, both of Cornwall, also represented Caveman Strong at the event.

“I like what he (Touchette) has going on here, he’s doing a really good job,’’ said Pierre Augé, head coach and CEO of the School of Champions Weightlifting Club, of which Caveman Strong is an affiliate. (The School of Champions also has sites in Ottawa and Regina.)

Saturday was a busy day across the country for Olympic Weightlifting — it was the last day to qualify for the nationals that’ll be held in La Prairie, just south of Montreal, early in June.

In Cornwall, that meant plenty of heavy lifting for Touchette and Caveman Strong business manager Eric Bergeron, organizing all of the volunteers required to host a fairly significant competition.

Cornwall isn’t the only city where there’s been a grassroots swell.

“(Weightlifting has grown in Canada) five times bigger in the last two years,’’ Augé noted. “It’s really taken off. It’s become more accessible, more people are teaching it . . . in Ontario in one year, we have over 100 new coaches.’’

Augé thinks it’s the personal challenge that makes the sport intriguing to newcomers.

“It’s exciting, it’s exciting knowing you’re strong, and can get stronger,’’ he said. “The goal is to always get better. Even at the nationals, the goal should be to make personal records . . . it’s step-by-step (growth), and it’s a lot of work.’’

Secours agrees.

“It’s such a demanding sport,’’ Secours said, noting she trains six days a week, usually for over two hours each day. “It takes a lot of effort, a lot of dedication.’’

Secours had started weightlifting a year ago to the day — March 31 (2011) — in Ottawa. She’s already attended competitions in the capital and in North Bay, and on Saturday, she had home-stage advantage — if you could call it that.

“I’m hoping to win, if all goes well . . . but I’m pretty nervous,’’ Secours said early in the day, before competing at the 69 kilogram divisison.

“It’s my first competition at home, and I’ve got a bunch of friends here, and family. I’m nervous.’’

• Secours was second in her weight class, with a clean and jerk score of 83 kg, and a 63 kg snatch score, for a total of 146 kg, finishing fifth overall among 18 female competitors at the event.

• Kelly McGillis finished second by a single kg, behind Allison Loyst in the 75 kg class.

McGillis, the youngest competitor in the field of 18 women, had had scores of 88 kg (clean and jerk) and kg (snatch) for a 162 total, and 11th overall out of 18.

McGillis was fourth amongst women, in total weight lifted.

• Kyle Pichie was eighth in the largest division, a field of nine at the men’s 77 kg class.

Pichie, in his first competition, scored a 203-kg total (113 kg clean and jerk; 90 kg snatch), finishing 27th overall amongst 36 male competitors.

• Overall winners in Sinclair tabulated scoring (based on weight class, number of attempts and other factors) were Dalas Sanatvy (We Are Weightlifting in Sarnia), and Isabelle Despres (Ottawa Elite).

The above article was written by Todd Hambleton of the Standard-Freeholder. You can read more articles by Todd on the Standard-Freeholder website:


Category: Sports