By Paula Naponse
OTTAWA—Two young women from the Anishinabek Nation have been lifting some pretty heavy things lately. The weekend of October 29-30, 2016, the Ontario Powerlifting Association, the governing body for powerlifting in Ontario, held the Ontario Junior Classic Championship in Ottawa, Ontario.
Two young women, Trena Restoule from Dokis First Nation and Jayde Naponse from Atikameksheng Anishnawbek represented their clubs at the provincial meet. Powerlifting consist of completing three lifts: the squat, bench press, and deadlift. In competition, there are three tries at each lift with each lift increasing in weight.
Trena Restoule, 19, attends Canadore College in the Strength and Sports Conditioning program. When asked why she chose powerlifting Trena replied, “I was encouraged at school to get involved and I now enjoy lifting weights and I am kinda good at it”.
For Trena, she competed in the 57kg weight class; this is only her second meet in powerlifting and the squat is her favorite lift. At this meet, Restoule wanted to break the Ontario weight record for the squat, which she accomplished; however, Restoule’s record was then broken by another competitor. Restoule was proud of her accomplishments this weekend and in true Anishnawbek tradition, Trena had her family from Dokis in attendance for support.
“Don’t let people get you down with the stereo types,” stated Restoule when asked about how to get other young women involved in this sport. “I have faced stereotypes growing up and I like to show people what I can do. I wanna lift heavy and I am gonna lift heavy!”
For Jayde Naponse,21, powerlifting was something that came to her unexpectedly. As a student at University of Ottawa, Naponse was a regular at the gym. The powerlifting club “adopted” Jayde into their family, she became a member and was hooked.
A competitive hockey player for many years, Jayde needed a venue to become involved in competition again. Naponse says “the powerlifting club at U Ottawa adopted me and became more involved in lifting”.
For Jayde, her favorite lift is the deadlift. At the provincial meet, Naponse was the provincial champion in the 84+kg. With a 363 pound deadlift, a personal best, she secured her spot at the top. The weekend was a success for Jayde as she scored a personal best in all her lifts.
“It is empowering to see what your body is capable of doing, it makes you feel good about yourself,” stated Naponse when discussing why other women should get into powerlifting. “Being competitive and based on the work you do, you get to see the results; with powerlifting you work to lift the highest numbers you can”
It is an inspiration to see young Anishnawbe kwe excelling in a non-traditional sport. Powerlifting is becoming more and more popular among men and women. With these strong Anishnawbe kwe coming up, our nation has some good inspiration lifting us all up.