The Start of Something New - Para Weightlifting at the CMWC
The Canadian Masters Weightlifting Federation welcomed its first para weightlifter, Scott Glass, from Regina Saskatchewan at the 2021 virtual Canadian Masters Weightlifting Championships. Scott approached the Canadian Masters president last March inquiring about the possibility of competing as a para-athlete at the 2021 virtual Canadian Masters Weightlifting Championships. Training out of the Shrinking Shutski Club in Regina and supported by the Saskatchewan Weightlifting Association, Scott was more than pleased when he was welcomed into the Canadian Masters; this despite the Federation not having a policy on para weightlifting. With a Snatch of 44 kg and a Clean Jerk of 66 kg, Scott totaled 110 kg and secured the Canadian Masters Weightlifting Federation’s First Para Weightlifting medal and record in the M45/102/PW8 category. This Category invites para weightlifters with a “Limited Range of Motion.”
Scott is so dedicated to help develop para weightlifting, even if be at the time only applicable to the CMWFHCM single National event, that he was approached to be, and accepted, the role of the Para Weightlifting Advisor to the Canadian Masters Weightlifting Federation.
Para weightlifting does not exist as one of the Canadian para sports. Sports Canada does recognize para powerlifting, but that is a very different sport. As a result, there is no such entity as para weightlifting at the Canadian Provincial or at the Canadian Weightlifting Federation. However, if a provincial weightlifting association is open to modifying its competition requirements, and permits an athlete to be a member, we at the Canadian Masters will do as much as we can to welcome and include athletes requiring modifications to their weightlifting contested movements. Unfortunately, para weightlifting does not exist at the international masters or senior level, though there are pockets of para weightlifters (referred to as adaptive weightlifters) at various clubs within the USA Weightlifting Federation and United States weightlifting clubs.
At the Canadian Masters Weightlifting Championships, the CMWFCM will recognize these new Categories for competition and record purposes : Blind or Visually Impaired, Intellectually Disabled, Amputee (single arm, single leg or shoulder strap), Amputee with Prosthesis (arm or leg), and Limited Range of Motion. Inclusion of the paraathlete into weightlifting demonstrates our commitment to fulfilling our mission: “The Federation is dedicated to the promotion and development of Masters Olympic Weightlifting in Canada and shall represent the interests of Canadian Master Weightlifters. It will do so in a spirit of equity and fair play, while at the same time encouraging a fit for life philosophy.” Welcoming para-athletes into Masters weightlifting greatly enhances both their physical and mental well being. At present there are no specific training courses offered by the Canadian Weightlifting Federation for para weightlifters’ coaches or for technical officials who adjudicate para weightlifters’ attempts at competitions. This will indeed be a challenging area for the athlete’s supportive individuals. Because of this, the Canadian Masters Weightlifting Federation has developed a policy guideline which can be used by athletes, coaches and technical officials in their attempts adapt their coaching, teaching and refereeing styles and responsibilities.
Although the 2021 Canadian Masters Weightlifting Championships was virtual, our 2022 Championships will be an in-person event in beautiful Moncton, New Brunswick. Between now and then, we hope that more athletes like Scott, supported by their Provincial Weightlifting Association, will train and compete at this prestigious competition.