Published Saturday, June 2, 2018 4:44PM ADT
Last Updated Saturday, June 2, 2018 6:29PM ADT
The Nova Scotia Weightlifting Association is holding their first ‘Women in Weightlifting’ workshop this weekend in Truro. And they’ve brought in a guest coach that has been called the ‘Queen of Olympic weightlifting’.
Ursula Papandrea is the first woman to ever be named Vice-President of the International Weightlifting Association and this weekend she’s in Truro, N.S. to train with 27 women from across the Maritimes.
A two-time American champion and five-time world team member, Papandrea has travelled from Texas to Truro for something she feels is truly important.
“Because there are women who are interested in learning and getting better at weightlifting and part of my purpose I think is to spread and grow and promote weightlifting interests around the world,” says Papandrea.
For many of these female athletes, weightlifting is about breaking barriers while building muscle.
“Talk about empowering for women, to find other women who have the same interests and are as driven and dedicated as they are and willing to continue to change the status quo in terms of what women can do and the way they’re viewed,” explains Papandrea.
“It’s definitely empowering and especially where I’m from, there’s not many other women doing this, so having the opportunity to come up here and you know, train with these women is pretty amazing,” says weightlifter Trudy Delorey.
Women’s Olympic weightlifting was introduced into the Olympics at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, and the sport has grown steadily since.
“We’ve seen a huge growth in our sport, particularly with female athletes within the past couple of years. We’re still very under-represented from a coaching and official standpoint, particularly at the National and higher levels,” says Amanda Thompson of the N.S. Weightlifting Association.
“We don’t have as many coaches as we do athletes, and very often we see men coaching women, less often do we see women coaching men, but women can do both. They can coach women, they can coach men, they can go from being an athlete to being an elite coach,” explains Papandrea.
The women learn weightlifting is not just picking up the bar and putting it down. There’s technique and agility required, to go with the necessary power.
“Nova Scotia is pretty small, so we’re a pretty tight-knit community anyway, but we’re quite spread out, so to get us all together here in one place, even just for the weekend, is a really nice way to reconnect with other people,” says weightlifter Allison Dube.
Papandrea says this is the first all-women’s camp she’s held in North America. She plans to take what she learns here and apply it to camps in the United States later this summer.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Dan MacIntosh.
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