NANAIMO — An olympic weightlifting event in Nanaimo is going into it's third year but the Island Invitational will look alot different in 2017.
The Hercules Weightlifting Club will again host the competition but it will run in tandem with the Nanaimo Kettlebell Club's Grip Strength Invitational.
It happens on the September 9-10 weekend with 70 athletes expected for the weightlifting portion on Saturday and 20 plus for the kettlebell lifts slated for Sunday.
Kettlebell registration has already started with the sign up for weightlifting to come on August 1.
Raf Korkowski, one of the coaches at Hercules Weightlifting, says they've been running events for 20 years in Winnipeg, and now that they're in Nanaimo they want local athletes to have the opportunity to experience a well run competition in their own backyard.
"We want this to be the marquee event in BC Weightlifting's annual events calendar," said Korkowski.
Hercules will be putting in two teams, and three of the most accomplished local lifters are 15 year old Kendra Falkenberg, who just won gold at the Seafest Weightlifting Championships in Vancouver, Bryan Katz, a member of Team BC, and masters lifter Tanna Payne who is coming off a gold medal performance at the 2017 Canadian Masters Championships.
Falkenberg is also a kettlebell competitor, and another one of the favourites on the kettlebell side is Rachel Robertson in the masters division.
There is also a group of five Nanaimo athletes heading to the Canadian Kettlebell Nationals in Moose Jaw this coming Saturday, so that could serve to bolster the resume of the local lifters heading into September's competition.
Preparations are already well underway for the Island Invitational and Grip Strength Invitational.
Island Optimal will serve as the host venue for the event and some assistance from the Nanaimo Hospitality Association will help facilitate the expanded format.
Korkowski says the two sports tie into each other very well.
"We get all sorts of diverse weightlifting styles and athletes not only from the local community here but from across the province. Kettlebell is a complimentary sport in the sense that in kettlebell they have snatch and clean and jerk movements as well," said Korkowski.
The hope is that there will be a large group of spectators for both days and according to Korkowski the weightlifting only competition has had good sized crowds in the first two years.
Details for both portions of the two day event are on facebook at the Hercules Weightlifting page and the Nanaimo Kettlebell Club page.
On twitter: @danmarshall77
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