As Belgium went into its second lockdown this Fall from the Corona virus, I took part in two different virtual weightlifting competitions. One was the European Masters (where I won a silver medal for my category, see below) and the other was the virtual Welsh Open (where I won a gold for my category). I filmed the second one at 3-2-1 Fit in Heverlee, where my former teammate Pieter Jan runs a personal training facility.
Virtual competitions involve filming your lifts and sending them in for assessment. You do not know what your competitors are doing nor do you always know who is entering. So it is not the same thing as a live competition.
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I still lift at Brussels Weightlifting School (BWS), albeit virtually right now. As you will see below, I took home my barbell which was sheltering at the local CrossFit, borrowed a CrossFit set 0f 5kg discs as I did not get to BWS fast enough before the lockdown, and use my own heavier discs from the garage box from my old home plateau. I lift on my front porch on concrete slabs, with cardboard, a wooden plank and some rubber mats.
So I film my lifts and ship them off via IG messages to my coach Anna van Bellinghen, who comes back fairly quickly with comments. Anna shares a One Drive space with me for my training program, and I update it weekly on what days I plan to train.
My video coach Michaela Breeze also gets videos from me using Hudl, and she comments and draws on the videos for commentary. Given she is a new mum of twin boys, this is currently done while she is walking the boys in a baby sling on windy Welsh roads, so the occasional background noises are quite interesting (baby crying and windy gusts). 🙂
Is everything cancelled or postponed? The European Masters is now in late Fall / early Winter. I was planning to go to the Worlds in Germany in September, but when they moved it to America and to a bad time of year for me (resit exam sessions are in late August; as a professor, hard to get out of supervision), that event went away. Now the Worlds is cancelled, and the next Worlds is Kansai 2021, which is not only expensive but again a time of year which may be a challenge for me to get time off work. I do love the IMG events, having been to several, but where the lifting venue is in Japan is fairly remote from anything and might be a challenge to organize travel post-COVID.
The Belgian lifting season had started with one interclub, but not clear to me at this point when we can go further, or where/when I will take my Cat 1 refereee exam which we had discussed.
I chose to change clubs when we moved house three years ago, and am celebrating two years now at Brussels Weightlifting School (BWS) under the watchful eyes of Anna Van Bellinghen and the rest of the team. In addition, I have had video analysis coaching from the wonderful Michaela Breeze (double Olympian from Wales) for the last six months.
Serious difference now in technique and training, noticed by many folks who have known me for ages. Heading into the Euro Masters in June with much better skills and confidence, and appreciate my club, coaches and teammates very much. 🙂
I have now set two new Belgian national records this year, and am aiming to take that last one soon!
It has been a busy year, and as my new coach points out, I compete a lot. I finished off 2017 in Australia in October as a visitor to the Open section of the Australian, Oceanic and Pacific Rim Masters at the Gold Coast. Loved the weather, and the medal did not hurt either!
From the Europeans in Hungary (bronze medal) to the Worlds in Barcelona (4th place, and then to the inaugural Asian Pacific Master games in Penang, Malaysia ( gold medal!), it has been a busy time. Also won Best Female Master in my region of Belgium this year, and am set to compete this month in the Belgian Masters for the last year of this current age and weight group setting.
Photos below. After the Belgian Masters, a well deserved rest and we set what next year brings, both in terms of a new age category and new weight classes. Never a dull moment in lifting!
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In April, I did the ultimate in roadtrips to lift in the World Cup Masters in Tokyo. I had a good time, did some international refereeing and won the silver in my group.
In June, right after moving house and with my husband recovering from a small stroke, I still went to Tenerife for everyone’s favorite competition, the Eleiko Women’s Grand Prix (ladies only, from all parts of the globe). Warm, but did well again with 5 of 6.
In July, did the Waregem International Masters and Ladies Open, with an excellent 6 for 6 and a new post-op PB in the total. Still have to offload some of those photos (note to self!)
Some of the photos are below. In the Fall, I have the Belgian Masters and the World Masters. And then we decide if we are going to go for the World Master Games 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand….
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I made it back to fitness for the European Master Games, as I wanted. But then, I said, what the heck, let’s do the national seniors as I am already fit and can see all my national colleagues. It was for fun, so why not? So I lifted, got five for six [missed one was a bit of a dare from Tom VT 🙂 ] and got another senior title at the tender age of 51. [Note: Yes, Yasmine is my weight but not my age group and she is progressing well as a cadet. But by the time we would meet to directly compete, I will be in a Zimmer frame. :-0 ]
So now my coach Tino has me on two months “active rest” where I keep the power up and take it a lot easier. He is very happy with what I achieved after surgery, and so am I.
Looking forward to some fun comps next year in Japan and Tenarife!
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