Nicolette Kipling of Parksville focuses on the snatch event. (Michael Briones photo)

Competitors of all ages do some heavy lifting in Parksville

A&R Memorial even draws wide variety of athletes

The 2020 A&R Memorial Weightlifting competition that took place in Parksville on Saturday, attracted lifters of all ages and abilities.

Close to 70 avid lifters took to the stage at Jim’s Gym, to challenge themselves in Olympic-weightlifting.

“We had more female competitors than male competitors,” said Darren Willis of EMS, the organizer of the event. “This has been a trend in the sport in recent years and the women’s competition was full of exciting lifting this year.”

The top male and female lifters were Mitchel Barnard and Kayla Ireland, respectively, of Vancouver’s Dynasty Weightlifting Club.

In the men’s 89-kilogram class, Barnard posted the best lifts of 145 kg for snatch and 173 kg for clean and jerk.

Ireland had lifted 68 kg for snatch and 84 kg in the clean and jerk to win the women’s 55 kg class.

The Best Team was Nanaimo’s Hercules Weightlifting Club, beating Vancouver-based Loaded Athletics by 18 points.

The best junior female lifter was Kathryn Lee while the the top men and women Masters lifters were Raf Korkoswksi and Janella David, respectively.

Some took part with a goal of achieving a standard that would help them qualify for provincial and national competitions, while there were those who competed to set personal bests.

For Qualicum Bay weightlifter Ray Kaster, who is affiliated with Ferg’s Weightlifting Club in Parksville, it was his first since his last competition 45 years ago when he was still a young man residing in Edmonton.

“A whole generation has grown up since then,” quipped Kaster. “It was all good today. I didn’t lift as much as I wanted to but I did lift what I thought I would.”

Kaster added it was a good learning experience as it will help him prepare for a Masters competition in March.

It was five years ago that Kaster got the itch to return to weightlifting.

When Kaster moved to the Island, he happened to come across a familiar face in the local paper. It was Ed Fergusson, who, at the age of 85 years old, continues to compete in the Masters level.

“I knew Ed way back then when I was still in university in Edmonton,” said Kaster. “So when I saw him in the paper, I said ‘holy cow’. He was 80 at that time and I thought that if Ed can still lift at 80 years old then I might give it a try sometime. So I did, lifting to just keep myself in shape.”

Kaster is now 64 years old and said he’s got more time to focus on honing his weightlifting skills. He loves the sport as it helps him keep in shape.

“I get to return to my youth now,” Kaster jest. “I get to play the things I used to play.”

Making her competition debut was Hilary Dumas, a newcomer to the sport.

She just started lifting six months ago and this event for her was her initiation to the world of competition.

“I had fun,” said Dumas., who placed third in the women’s 59 kg category. “I didn’t really have a goal. The objective was to participate. And I did. Now, that I have, I will start looking for the next competition.

Before delving into weightlifting, Dumas, who was residing in the United States, was an ultimate frisbee player. She told her teammate that if she move to Vancouver, she would check out weightlifting.

“I found a good gym and good coaches and I have been doing it,” said Dumas. “I like doing it because I like challenges. Any sport where there’s a lot more to learn. Like you get to a certain level and once you get there you realize that there’s so much more. It opens up more doors.”

When Dumas first started, she said there was a lot of figuring out that she had to do.

“I am still learning and I am told that it never ends,” said Dumas. “I like that there’s constant tweaks and things that I can do better. I like the improvement mentality of it.”

Nicolette Kipling, who is coached by Ed Fergusson, said she enjoys the competitiveness of the sport and the personal triumphs you can achieve.

“It’s pretty much against yourself and trying to outdo your previous best,” said Kipling. “I like that because it forces you to keep trying to improve yourself.




1st – Janella David (LAX)

1st – Paul Goldberg (VIK)

2nd – Diane Bousadda (REN)



1st – Kayla Ireland (DYN)

1st – Kai Luo (DYN)

2nd – Vicky Wong (DYN)

2nd – Angelo Trinidad (UXX)

3rd – Yuka Kabota (LAX)



1st – Brette Carrigan (HWC)

1st – Andy Liao (UXX)

2nd – Madeline Meikley (LAX)

2nd – Vincent Chung (DYN)

3rd – Hilary Dumas (DYN)

3rd – Bryan Pulgar (DYN)



1st – Amy Diehl (LAX)

1st – Kristian Abian (UXX)

2nd – Alejandra Mrianda (LAX)

2nd – Warren Sing (DYN)

3rd – Carmela de Gracia (HWC)

3rd – Riley McEachern (HWC)



1st – Nikki Lenzen

1st – Mitchell Barnard (DYN)

2nd – Jodi Westmacott (HWC)

2nd – Zeke Caball (HWC)

3rd – Kathryn Lee (SWC)

3rd – Joey Balzer (REN)



1st – Michelle Wand (REN)

1st – Andrei Sergheev (UXX)

2nd – Susannah Reid (UXX)

2nd – Chris Jenkins (HWC)

3rd – Kelly Strom (HWC)

3rd – Ebby David (HWC)



1st – Cathy Hamby (LAX)

1st – Thomas Grieve (HWC)

2nd – Seonaid Waterson (HWC)

2nd – Nathan Harskemp (DYN)

3rd – Andrea Nestor (DYN)



1st – Haley Ronda (FBC)

1st – Kevin Gamble (HWC)



1st – Miranda Lebeuf (SWC)

1st – Raf Korkowski (HWC)

2nd – Chelsea Hamming (LAX)

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