Ricochet News

PE Occupational Therapist soars at Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships

By Marc Jacobson - Sep 27, 2017
PE Occupational Therapist soars at Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships

Port Elizabeth-based Occupational Therapist, Elisabeth Barry (44), recently took part in the Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships in Potchefstroom, where she notched up podium-spot finishes in two different competing divisions respectively.

Barry took part in both the Senior division (24-39 years) and the Master One division (40-49 years), both of which she had to qualify for at the equipped and unequipped South African Championships, held in March and July this year.

It was to resounding avail, as Barry finished with an overall silver in the Senior Division and a gold in the Master One Divisions respectively, but competing in two different categories did prove taxing on the PE athlete, who indicated that new challenges on the side were exposed, amidst the tight competition itself.

“Competing in both the equipped and unequipped at the same competition was quite challenging in terms of the training and preparation involved,” Barry told RNEWS.

“Making sure that I was in the correct weight division (under 47kg) was also a challenge and a strict healthy diet was necessary before the time. Thorough training increased, and as a result, muscle mass also gained,” she added.

Perseverance, however, prevailed and Barry won silver for all three lifts in the Senior division (squat- 115kg, bench press- 47.5kg and deadlift- 130kg; totalling 292.5kg), after successfully weighing in at 46.55kg to take the stage.

“I attempted to lift 135kg for the first time at a competition in an attempt to go for gold in the deadlift, but I unfortunately narrowly missed this accomplishment,” Barry expressed.

“I achieved a number of personal bests though, which included five South African records [Senior squat and deadlift and Master 1 squat, deadlift and total].”

Celebrations though, had to be short-lived, as Barry had to then steer her focus to competing in the unequipped Master One division just the next day. Here she achieved gold medal status for all three lifts, namely: squat 82.5kg, bench press 40kg and deadlift 130kg, with a totalled score of 250kg.

In the competition as a whole, Barry improved on two of her current South African records, in both the deadlifts and total scores respectively, and although she enjoyed some enduring national prowess, she proclaimed that it did not come easy.

“Lifting two days in a row was very physically challenging,” she said, “I lifted over two tonnes across both days, which included all of the warm-up and practise lifts, as well as the competition lifts.”

“It certainly took a lot of mental strength to do this, and with a lot of encouragement from my coach, Ilze-Mari Maritz, I was able to achieve and push through.”

In her next steps moving forward, Barry has resumed training to compete in the World Masters Equipped Championship held in Sundsvall, Sweden, on the 5th of October.

“There I hope to further improve on my South African records and continue to proudly represent my country,” she said.

“A big shout out should also go to my family and friends for their continuous encouragement and support over the last few months – which has been the driving force behind me in taking part in these nationally and internationally renowned competitions.”

Just three months ago, Barry represented South Africa at the World Unequipped Championships at Minsk, Belarus, where she won silver for both squats and deadlifts, and a second-place overall finish in the under-47kg Master One division – and she will hope to resonate these recent successes onto the internationally-affiliated championship event in Sundsvall next week.  

Image: Elisabeth Barry in lifting action at the Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships in Potchefstroom.

Elisabeth Barry in action at Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships.Elisabeth Barry finishing with a podium achievement at Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships.