The 2021 Canadian Masters Weightlifting Championships – a show case of true champions!!! A message from Mark Gomes
It was Friday, April 26, 2019, the evening before the first day of the Canadian Masters Weightlifting Championships, the Annual General Meeting. The competition on the Saturday and Sunday was held in St. Thomas and hosted by Daniel Paré of St. Thomas Strength Athletics. After acclaimed as VP the year before and having to appoint myself President, this meeting was the first time I had the opportunity to address our members. I was self appointed as an interim president, with the members’ approval and the meeting went well.
Just before the meeting concluded, an energetic young man ran up to me with a bid in his hand for the 2020 Canadian Championships. He had a demonstrably worried look on his face, believing he had missed the deadline. Well, the deadline was not until midnight but there were other bids to review. The new interim Board I assembled was asked to review the bids and to consider a variey of factors, such as recent geographic hosting, experience hosting a competiton, support of their Provincial Weightliting Association, budget plans, and organizational structure. (A full protocol document is on our website). They were impressed with the bid from the Dakota Weightlifting Club of Winnipeg, Manitoba. This gentleman was Craig Gilbert, the soon to be Competition Director of the 2020 Canadian Masters Weightlifting Championships.
And then that darned Covid-19 blew into town and as the competition drew closer, I had no choice as President to come up with some alternate plans. We first thought of postponing the meet, but many of the host committee members were health professionals already being tasked with community duties and others whose time outside those dates were already committed for their families and the entire pandemic situation was worsening. It was then, I decided to cancel the competition altogether as the travel restrictions began its stranglehold on our members. Perhaps we could try for 2021, I thought. We realized in due time, that this pandemic was not going to let up in time.
It was the quick thinking of the Competition Director, the Dakota Club, and its organizing committee that we should offer the 2021 Championships in a video style format. Over the following months Craig, with his committee, and I, with my Advisory Committee, eventually came up with the plan you saw come to fruition. The requirements and directions were clear and it offered a fair and equitable opportunity to all members of the Federation.
We had an excellent turnout of 160 members. Fifty-four percent representing the west coast and prairie provinces, 35 % representing Ontario and Quebec, 8 % from the Atlantic Provinces and 2 % were Canadians living abroad. Our women weightlifters made up 58% of all the participants. Sixty-three percent of all our athletes were between the ages of 35 and 49 and 88 percent of all athletes were under the age of 60. Special mention to two men, in the 80+ age category, Peter Szita from Sainte-Therese, Québec and the one and only Ed Fergusson of Nanaimo, British Columbia; our favourite Octogenarian from the West. The accomplishments of our members can be found on this website – all of them Champions!!!!
We had sixteen members in the age 30 category. This category is unique in Masters Weightlifting, in Canada only. Although it cannot be used for International Masters Competitions, it certainly gives our transitioning members a wonderful introduction to Masters Weightlifting. A milestone also took place at this year’s championships. We invited, and he accepted, Scott Glass to be our first para weightlifter participating in the Canadian Masters Weightlifting Championships. You can find more on Scott in a separate article. Para weightlifting does not exist as an official sport, but that did not stop us from including para-athletes into our national competition. I will later release further information about the different categories of para weightlifters permitted to participate in our Nationals and some directions for our technical officials. So welcome Scott Glass, our Para Weightlifting advisor.
To round this out, we cannot complete a successful competition without the great assistance of Technical Officials. I was so impressed and happy that so many technical officials answered my call for volunteers. They all share the love of weightlifting at all age levels coupled with their education and training from their Provincial Weightlifting Association affiliates of the Canadian Weightlifting Federation. Thanks go out to all our 27 technical officials.
By accepting the totals from the 2021` World Masters Championships as totals for the 2021 Canadian Masters Championships, those members will now have a total, along with the other participants, for the 2022 World Masters Championships, with ample time to improve those totals if desired.
As this distasteful pandemic starts to wind down, and competitions begin resuming, we expect many of our members will be preparing for the 2022 Moncton Canadian Masters in June, the World Masters Games in May and the World Masters Championships in December (see WMG vs WMC on our website).
To all of our participating members, I sincerely appreciate the support you have given to our Federation and I wholeheartedly invite you to be part of our family next year. We need each other to ensure that our Federation remains a strong and vibrant advocate for Masters Weightlifting in Canada.