JustLift athlete learns from Pan-Ams, conquers nationals

Rich Davidson and coach Greg Chin. (Photo provided)

By Stuart Miller-Davis

Three weeks after competing for Canada for the first time internationally, Rich Davidson became a Canadian weightlifting national champion for the second time.

Competing in the 109kg category at the Canadian Senior Championships for weightlifting, Davidson opened with a snatch (an Olympic-style lift in which the barbell is brought from the ground to the overhead position in one motion) by lifting 140kg on his first attempt for the heaviest first lift of his competitive career, in the event. He missed his second attempt of 145kg but was able to hit on his third try, for a lift just 1kg shy of his all-time personal best of 146kg.

In the clean and jerk (which is a two-part Olympic lift, done by first bringing the barbell from the floor to above the chest, before lifting it above the head), Davidson missed his warm-up of 175kg, before hitting an in-competition lift 10kg greater, to match another of his first-attempt personal bests, which he had set in April at the Pan-American Weightlifting Championships in Guatemala. Hitting the opening attempt of his clean and jerk gave him a confidence boost, he said in an Instagram post.

After a close miss on his second attempt of 191kg at nationals, he had to move up to 195kg in order to win the gold medal. In Guatemala, where he finished 5th overall, he had missed the same weight.

“You had to stay focused on the actual lifting because there’s so much going on,” Davidson recalled of the Pan-American championships, when discussing the event with the Ottawa Sportspage.

Davidson said the heat and altitude in Guatemala were both factors that complicated his first time competing outside of Canada.

“It’s about 5000 feet above sea level and just recovering between sets I noticed my heart rate wasn’t coming down as fast,” Davidson said. “We had to adapt our game-plan for the warmups.”

Ever since joining JustLift when he moved to Ottawa one year ago, he and his coach, Greg Chin’s, goal has been for him to compete at the Pan-Am championships.

“The moment I think I felt the most elation was qualifying at the Ontario championships, because to represent Canada has been my goal ever since I started weightlifting six years ago,” Davidson said.

After having tried to make the team a year ago, reaching the goal they had set together was a proud moment for Chin also.

“In sport, in a year, things rarely go according to plan,” Chin said. “There are injuries and setbacks in time. … It’s rewarding to see someone that puts that effort, someone you care about, that they’re achieving what they set out to.”

After missing his 195kg clean and jerk attempt in tougher Guatemalan conditions, Davidson nailed the attempt of the same weight at the national championships, sealing the gold medal and tying yet another personal best.

Davidson credits Chin as being instrumental to his success. The weightlifter also praised the supporting atmosphere that his JustLift teammates have created.

“We have done an amazing job at communication and that’s made a huge positive impact on my lifting progress,” Davidson said.

Davidson’s next step is to compete at the 2019 World Weightlifting Championships, which takes place in the fall in Thailand.

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