Prince Rupert’s Cynthia Leighton brought home gold and won a national record for bench press at the 2021 Western Canadian Power Lifting Championships on Nov. 15.
Leighton pressed a record-breaking 88kg (194 lb) to win the women’s 63 kg weight class at the Olympic Oval in Richmond, B.C.
This was Leighton’s first competition in just less than two years since the pandemic put a dampener on competitions and their participants around the world.
“It definitely was exciting [and] it was not as stressful as it usually is,” Leighton said.
The powerlifting championships were held over three days, Nov. 13 to 15, and saw 2,316 athletic lifts.
Leighton decided to take part in the championship event to get a feel for what it is like competing during COVID-19.
“I love competing. I love powerlifting,” Leighton said.
“I signed up for Western Canadians just to kind of get my feet wet again.”
Leighton has competed for more than seven years and typically competes in the 3-lift, which is participating in all three categories: squat, bench press and deadlift. She also competes in either the 57 kg or 59 kg weight class.
In 2020, she made the Canada world’s team but decided not to participate because of the COVID-19 risks of travelling to competitions at home and abroad.
Now, with a satisfying comeback win under her belt after an absence, the victory whets her appetite to win bigger.
Just because she made the national team before doesn’t mean it’ll be easy, she said. Leighton will have to earn her spot at the top by winning nationals.
The national record-holder maintains a professional schedule of training four to five times a week, for a couple of hours each day, all the while keeping her work-life balance and raising two sons.
“My goals are to compete in 3-lift at nationals, in March, and hopefully make team Canada again and go to worlds.”
She remains confident she will get the job done.
Norman Galimski | Journalist
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