'She’s got ridiculous grit': Saskatoon woman claims weightlifting championship
SASKATOON -- A Saskatoon student broke provincial records at a national weightlifting competition last weekend.
Polina Bespalova, 19, won gold for Olympic lifting at the Junior National Crossfit Championships in Edmonton.
“This was my last year competing as a junior, so I wanted to go out big this year,” Bespalova told CTV News.
Athletes have a total of six attempts to lift as much weight as they can doing two movements – the “snatch” and “clean and jerk.”
Judges then add together the two top weights from each movement to determine to a score.
Bespalova lifted 77 kilograms for the snatch and 91 kg for the clean and jerk – a total of 168 kg, or 370 pounds.
Usually competitors are neck-and-neck for weight, but Bespalova beat out her competitors by a wide margin of 11 kg.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Bespalova said, laughing.
Her coach, Jason Cain, owner of Reebok Crossfit 306, watched her on the livestream.
“We had a whole bunch of people watching her from the weightlifting room. I was telling everyone, ‘I was more nervous than she was.’ And then once she got her first snatch I was like, ‘Ok, we’re in business.’”
It’s been more than a decade since a woman from Saskatchewan has won the junior championships, according to Cain.
“She always keeps her chin up and she fights through it all. She’s got ridiculous grit, she will grind and fight her way through anything,” Cain said.
Bespalova isn’t stopping at a junior national title - she hopes to compete at the senior level and internationally in the future.
“I want to be better,” she said.