NANAIMO — A two day event featuring olympic weightlifting and kettlebell is underway.
The 2017 Island Invitational is the weightlifting portion of the event on Saturday at Island Optimal.
It's entering it's third year - but this is the first time it's been held in tandem with a kettlebell event.
Organizer Raf Korkowski says there will be six weightlifting sessions with 70 athletes registered, and that includes 25 competitors from Nanaimo.
"There are athletes from all over the province," said Korkowski. "Clubs are coming from the greater Vancouver area, Kelowna, Victoria, and up island as well."
The Island Invitational is one of the first provincial qualifiers of the season and the way the day is set up sessions at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. will feature the top male and female lifters.
Sunday's Grip Strength event is the first kettlebell competition to be hosted in the central island area.
Rachel Robertson is one of Nanaimo's premiere kettlebell lifters but she's taking on an organizers role.
She will be going to the world championships in Korea in November but admits this weekend she'll be more focused on supporting her team than setting any personal bests.
There are 25 athletes registered to lift on Sunday and eight from Nanaimo.
That group of local kettlebell lifters are all competing for the just the first or second time.
Robertson hopes that the weekend of combined olympic weightlifting and kettlebell will become a yearly event and that it may grow into something bigger down the road.
"We'd like to create a Grip Strength series so that people can gain points and go on these circuits, where they can participate in events and in the long run have a year total," said Robertson.
Both the 2017 Island Invitational and the Grip Strength Kettlebell Competition have their own event pages on facebook so anyone interested can get all the times and details for the weekend.
On twitter: @danmarshall77
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