SURREY’S Lions Weightlifting Club’s Prabdeep Sanghera has made the cut for Sports Canada’s Athlete Assistance Program (AAP) despite a late start. She was also declared the best female weightlifter at the BC Provincial Championship on December 13.
The Athlete Assistance Program’s objectives are to financially support Canadian athletes identified by National Sport Organizations (NSOs) using criteria established by Sport Canada as performing at or having the greatest potential to achieve top 16 results at Olympic / Paralympic Games and World Championships; to assist Canada’s carded athletes in preparing to engage in full-time or part-time career activities; and to enable Canada’s carded athletes to participate in year-round national training and competition regimes to further their athletic goals.
Sports Canada attributed seven cards to weightlifting regardless of gender and the Canadian Weightlifting Federation announced a total of eight valid competitions as qualifiers for carding for the year 2014. Those competitions were: Junior World, Senior National, Pan American, Commonwealth Games, World University, Senior World, B.C. Provincial and Quebec Qualifier. An athlete had to qualify in at least two competitions and one of the competitions had to be in the second half of the year. All the competitions were subject to dope control.
Prabdeep jumped into the carding race very late. Her first completion for the carding race was Senior World on November 14 in Kazakhstan where she lifted a total of 216 kg -101kg in snatch and 115 kg in clean and jerk. She was placed 11th in the world in snatch.
Her second competition was the BC Provincial on December 13 where she bettered her own provincial record by lifting a total of 217 kg. A week later, she bettered her record at Montreal on December 20 by lifting a total of 218 kg.
Sandhu said: “It was a very scary and challenging move for her and a very tough decision for me to make her miss the Commonwealth Games where she could have easily won a medal and not to let her compete in the earlier tournaments, and then to make her compete only in the last three competitions. I am happy that this strategy worked. When you are working with high level athletes, you have to make these kinds of difficult decisions. She made it through, and now she will get assistance every month for the whole year and is also eligible for education assistance.”
Sandhu thanked all the sponsors, especially Manjit Bhander, who is paying for all of her airfare, Piara Singh Bhullar and Lakhwinder Sahota, who paid for accommodation, and Surjit Singh Gill for his year-round support.
The provincial championship was hosted by Lions Weightlifting Club on December 13 at Lord Tweedsmuir School in Cloverdale. Other lifters who won gold medals were Ishmeen Dhesi (53 kg) and Jeenal Billen (58 kg).
Helena Billen, Simrin Sandhu, Julia Sagawara and Snimerdeep Sanghera won silver medals in their respective categories.
Arjun Atwal won bronze in his category.
Makhan Sandhu thanked all of his fellow coaches, Rajinder Mahey, Raghbir Sahota and Harnek Sanghera, for working so hard to enhance the club’s reputation.