Val (Bronze), Esther (Gold), and Heather (Silver) swept the podium in the W53 Class

This past weekend, JustLift sent their largest team ever to compete at the 2013 Ontario Open at the University of Toronto Mississauga campus. We had lifters, 12 in total, competing in every session. It was a long day, with the first weigh-in scheduled at 6am, and the last lifters finishing up after 9pm, and coach Greg Chin there for all 15 hours of it! We also had 3 of our coaches, Nico Winter, Nancy Kozorezova, and Heather Amundrud pass their Level 1 coaching evaluations with flying colours.

This was one of largest Open meets the Ontario Weightlifting Association has ever seen. There were over 30 athletes on the waiting list to enter the competition. The level of growth that Ontario has been experiencing in the sport of Weightlifting has been nothing short of amazing.

Just as the number of competitive athletes has increased so has the level of competition. JustLift has stepped up to the challenge and we are certainly showing that we have the potential to be one of, if not THE best club in Ontario. We took home 8 medals (3 gold, 4 silver, 1 bronze), while completely owning the podium in the W53 class. This was coupled with solid performances from our new lifters as well. Our 4 newest competitors, Val Hoang, 10 year old Mark Ositashvili, Eric Beltrami, and James Kim all went 5/6 in their very first Open competitions.

Our team experienced numerous moments that exemplify what it means to be an athlete. Whether it was Nancy fighting like a tiger to win after being sidelined for two weeks prior to the competition with an injury or Melissa bouncing back with a perfect 6/6 after a disappointing performance at the Ray Hamilton, everyone on the team grew as competitors. Growth doesn’t always come from triumph, however.

Not everyone can have a perfect meet. For Nicole, this competition didn’t go her way, but that’s the beauty of sport. It’s not always going to be easy, and you don’t always learn the most from winning. At this meet we saw just how tough Nicole could be. Like a true a fighter, Nicole remained composed throughout the entire competition despite not performing the way she’d have liked. A competitor at heart, Nicole was back in the gym promptly on Monday, determined not to repeat the experience. She embodies why we’re rapdily becoming a great team provincially, and soon, nationally.

We don’t break and we don’t quit. We train together, we compete together, we grow together. We are all committed to getting better. As a result, our victories are made greater while our failures are made weaker. Whether you’re pushing through training or grinding out of the hole in your last Clean and Jerk attempt of the meet, your team is with you. That’s what makes JustLift the team it is quickly becoming.

Esther Dalle (W53) – 53-85-138 (Gold)

Heather Amundrud (W53) – 53-74-127 (Silver)

Val Hoang (W53) – 51-70-121 (Bronze)

Nicole Duchesne (W58) – 58-x-x

Nancy Kozorezova (W63) – 64-80-144 (Gold)

Sarah McGregor (W63) – 50-62-112

Melissa Tilley (W75+) – 57-66-123 (Silver)

Mark Ositashvili (M56) – 20-29-49 (Silver)

Ian Haya (M62) – 93-115-208 (Gold)

Nico Winter (M77) – 110-146-256 (Silver)

Eric Beltrami (M94) – 90-115-205

James Kim (M94) – 85-110-195