Nelson's Amit Bhabra qualifies for Canadian Junior Weightlifting Championships
Amit Bhabra is used to being in the middle of body checks and bluelines as the Nelson Minor Hockey product holds down a roster spot on the Castlegar/Nelson Midget Rep squad.
However, this past weekend in Vancouver, Bhabra flipped the switch from hockey to weightlifting to earn a spot at the Canadian Junior Weightlifting Championships in January in in Regina.
The accomplishment came at the BC Junior Weightlifting Championships in Vancouver.
“Amit has been training for a little over four years,” said coach Cody Abbey of Maverick Fitness in Nelson.
“He has been my most loyal student-athletes in that time. I can’t say enough about his exceptional character as a young man.”
Abbey said the 17-year-old Bhabra competed in the 62 kg (136 pound) category.
He snatched 150 pounds on his second attempt and failed to complete his third attempt at a heavier weight because nerves got to him.
Bhabra then clean-and-jerked 183 pounds successfully and got called for a technical error on his third attempt at 191 pounds.
“(Bhabra’s) strength is there to be lifting heavier weights . . . it’s a matter of perfecting his technique and increasing his flexibility,” Abbey explained.
Abbey said Bhabra plays hockey for the local Midget rep team so it has been a constant work in progress to increase his flexibility – a very important aspect of Olympic weightlifting.
“People don’t realize it but it is the second most flexibility demanding Olympic sport at the second only to gymnastics,” Abbey said.
“Hockey tightens hip flexor, groin and calf muscles making a deep squat position challenging and unnatural for most hockey players,” Abbey adds.
“Amit is beginning to realize his potential in the sport of weightlifting something I have been trying to communicate to him for over a year so I am slowly seeing him switch his focus from hockey to weightlifting.
“He has natural gifts to excel in weightlifting so success may come easier to him in this sport.”
Bhabra comes by the sport naturally as his father Hardial Bhabra is a former Canadian Champion.
During the next month Abbey said Bhabra is going to be pushing to increase his total in the two lifts by 20-25 pounds.