Ricochet News

Port Elizabeth powerlifter prowess inspires in Belarus World Championships

By Marc Jacobson - Jun 28, 2017
Port Elizabeth powerlifter prowess inspires in Belarus World Championships

Elisabeth Barry, an Occupational Therapist at Cape Recife High School in Port Elizabeth, recently represented South Africa, where she achieved second-placed podium finishes for squats and deadlifts, and achieved silver in the overall female under-47kg Master One Division at the World Unequipped Championships at Minsk, Belarus.

Representing her country in fine tune, Barry also just missed out on winning bronze for bench press, as she lifted the same weight as her third-place competitor, but she weighed a mere 8g more, thus the bronze was awarded to her competitor instead.

After lifting 85kg for squat, Barry managed to break the South African squat record and the total record for her weight and age division. Her total for all three powerlifts was 247.5kg, after in addition to squat; she deadlifted 122.5kg and bench pressed 40kg.

Barry began taking up powerlifting in 2010, after receiving gentle influence and persuasion from Provincial and National Powerlifting Coach and Referee, Andrew Ludik.

After being rallied into the sport’s preparations and training, she entered her first Provincial competition in January 2012, where she won gold for her age and weight division. She then won silver at the South African Equipped Nationals later that year and then won her first Equipped Nationals gold in June 2013.

Thereafter she qualified for the Orlando, USA, World Equipped Championship, as well as the Unequipped Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand. She won silver in Orlando and broke four SA records, while winning gold in Auckland, as well as breaking another four SA records and three of her own previous records.

That same year, Barry was announced runner-up for 2013 Eastern Cape Sportswoman of the Year, and over the next two years, she continued her powerlifting prowess which included a bronze in the Czechoslovakia World Championship, as well as numerous golds in SA’s National Championships, where she even upped to the Under-52kg category.

In all three years (2013-2015), Barry received the trophy for the best Eastern Cape Master One lifter. She then took a break in 2016, so as to complete her Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy.

Barry started training in full force again in January 2017 before winning the Under-47kg Master One Division in Potchefstroom, where she improved her personal squat record by five kilograms, which qualified her to take part in the Belarus World Championships.

For future endeavors, Barry hopes to take part in the South African Equipped Nationals in July so as to qualify for more world showpieces later this year.

“Depending on finances, as I have no official sponsor yet, I want to qualify for the Equipped World Championship in Sundsvall, Sweden in October, as well as the Equipped Commonwealth Games in Potchefstroom in September,” Barry told RNEWS.

“I would also like to take part in the All Africa Championship in Algeria later this year and at some point, I would also like to increase my involvement with disabled powerlifting in South Africa,” she commented.

Barry also expressed on the sweated work and dedication she has put in, in order to have gotten to this level of powerlifting.

“Powerlifting has meant many hours of intense training six to seven days a week and this involves not only practicing squat, bench and deadlift, but other weight training too.”

“In order to compete in the correct weight division cardio is also involved to reach and maintain this weight. I am currently assisted by Ilze-Mari Maritz, Provincial and National coach and lifter, in my training regime,” she added.

Regarding personal benefits, Barry has a lot to vouch for in her seven-year powerlifting tenure.

“Powerlifting has opened a new world to me as it was never a sport I had considered doing before. I have always been involved in sport, but never on a provincial, national or international level.”

“The sport has also enabled me to travel the world, meeting top athletes and forming friendships across the globe. Funny enough, whenever I meet people for the first time they seem very surprised that I am an international power lifter and medal winner, due to my size.”

“I see the benefits that can be gained not only competing by myself, but also with my own learners (abled and disabled) that I coach at school,” Barry added.

South African Powerlifting Coach, Rodney Anthony, assisted Barry in her recent success at the Belarus Championships.

In other mentions, fellow compatriot, Ludik also featured in the Belarus Champs, where he took part in his first Unequipped World Championships and achieved bronze in all three lifts, and as a result also won bronze in the total Under-120kg Master Two Division.

15-year-old, Nicole Ferreira from Pearson High School, who had only started competing in January this year, placed fourth at the same international games in the Under-72kg Sub-Junior Division, and broke her own record in bench press, lifting 60kg.

Images: Elisabeth Barry lifting at the Belarus World Unequipped Championships earlier in June this year.