Local powerlifters host meet

Eric Sparling
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Lucas Chapman squats with 112 kilograms on his shoulders.

Amherst - Karen Chapman is new to powerlifting.

"This is my first experience," she said. Only she wasn't the one competing at the CPF Atlantic Canadian Power Challenge Spectacular 2012, held over the weekend at the Wandlyn Inn.

"He's really nervous this morning," she said of his 17-year-old son, Lucas.

He's been training with the Amherst Powerlifting Club, hosts of the event, for "just a few months."

Even veterans can have butterflies the morning of a meet.

"(I) still get that," said Nathan Robertson, who organized the event.

Robertson is an accomplished lifter but he wasn't one of the 26 athletes competing at the Wandlyn.

"I'd rather make sure (we) put on a good show," he said. "The (CPF) federation would like to have something good out here going."

This is the Canadian Powerlifting Federation's first sanctioned meet east of Quebec.

Four clubs attended, as well as individual competitors: Amherst Powerlifting Club, Naturally Fit Fredericton, and Special Olympics athletes from Dieppe and New Glasgow.

Powerlifting isn't the same as Olympic lifting. Powerlifting athletes make three attempts at lifting the heaviest weight possible in the squat, bench press and deadlift. Their score is the total of the highest weights lifted in each of the three events - so, 500-pounds in each of the three would net a score of 1,500 pounds.

There are weight classes, of course.

Luke Perrin has been lifting for 15 years, and has competed in other federations before. He lives in Sackville but just started training with APC.

He thought it was "very nice" being able to compete so close to home. Perrin was the only athlete in the 75-kg Pro class. He was competing against himself, essentially, hoping to set a national bench press record.

Another experienced lifter was Chrystal Bradley.

"She won three gold medals at the worlds in Greece," said coach and foster-father Leonce LeBlanc.

Bradley competes in the Special Olympics. When the Special Olympics first embraced powerlifting, athletes only performed the deadlift and bench press. They do all three now, which also allows them to join mainstream competitions, like the APC event.

"I enjoy powerlifting," said the young woman. Her favourite of the three events is the deadlift.

"Not really sure," she said, when asked how much she'd lift at the Wandlyn. Her coach said she can deadlift well in excess of 300 pounds.

Organizations: Amherst Powerlifting Club, Wandlyn Inn, Special Olympics CPF Atlantic Canadian Power Challenge Spectacular 2012 Canadian Powerlifting Federation

Geographic location: Quebec, Dieppe, New Glasgow Sackville Greece

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