Powerlifting championships taking place Saturday in Charlottetown

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Athletes from P.E.I., Nova Scotia and Maine will be competing

Iron will be moving upward at the 2014 P.E.I. provincial powerlifting equipped championships and Atlantic winter classic Saturday at the Rodd Royalty Inn in Charlottetown.

Thirty-four lifters from P.E.I., Nova Scotia and Maine are competing, including six Special Olympics athletes and seven lifters from the UPEI Powerlifting Club.

Lifting begins at 9 a.m. Admission is $3 with proceeds going to KidSport.

“(I'm) delighted to see 10 female lifters, an area that has grown rapidly in the past two years," said Tom Nicholls, P.E.I. Powerlifting Association president, "and the Special Olympics athletes (who) are always the heart of the show and provide great excitement with their lifting."

The sport has grown with lifters of all ages competing on Saturday, ranging from 14 to 70-years-old, and has seen membership expand at the national level of near twice the amount in the past two years.

Nicholls attributes this to the introduction of the Classic Division. Classic lifting differs from equipped lifting in that lifters can only wear a weightlifting belt and wrist wraps, no other supportive gear is allowed. It is a very low cost and stress free way to try the sport.

“We knew when we moved forward with this that the membership would grow, but we are pretty overwhelmed by how much it has grown with the largest growth coming in the number of female lifters," said Nicholls. "There are very few sports in the world that you can compete in competitively at any age and have a chance to go to a national championship, as well as represent Canada at an international event. It is never too late to start and give it a try."

Jill MacFarlane and Marian Johnston are entered in the Classic category, and Johnston, who's competing in her second meet on Saturday, agreed.

“I started lifting in my 50s. What other sport can you take up in your 50s and have a national competition as a realistic goal? I plan to be involved in powerlifting for years to come," she said.

Saturday's event is a qualifier for the national powerlifting championships March 31 to April 5 in St. Catharines, Ont.

Organizations: Rodd Royalty Inn, UPEI Powerlifting Club, P.E.I. Powerlifting Association Special Olympics Classic Division

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Nova Scotia, Maine Atlantic Canada

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