Polina Bespalova competes at the 2020 Junior National Championship.

Power lifted to national gold

As a member of Saskatchewan Weightlifting, second year kinesiology student, Polina Bespalova and her teammates traveled to the Junior National Championships in Edmonton this past weekend.

Polina Bespalova was born and raised in Ukraine until the age of 10, when her family moved to Canada for work opportunities.

Her athletic career began from an interest and dominance in artistic gymnastics. At the age of six, Bespalova began as a competitive gymnast up until the age of 15. At that time, she was looking for something more. The doors to CrossFit opened and she felt it was a good fit.

“It involved many gymnastics skills that I could already do,” said second year kinesiology student, Bespalova. “I enjoyed doing classes that incorporated barbell work.”

After about two years into CrossFit, Bespalova competed in her first Olympic lifting meet. She currently trains daily out of Reebok 306, a CrossFit gym located in Saskatoon, but there is an Olympic lifting area that consists of wooden platforms and kilo plates designed specifically for Olympic training.

As a member of Saskatchewan Weightlifting, Bespalova and her teammates travelled to the Junior National Championships in Edmonton this past weekend. Bespalova would compete among 10 other females in her category to try and capture the National title. 

“I have competed previously in Junior Nationals in 2017. That was my first year of competitive weightlifting and I placed 6th. In 2018, my second year competing, my total had increased by nearly 20 kilos, securing a 3rd place finish,” said Bespalova. She was very quick to note, that she missed placing 2nd by just 1 kilo.

Looking forward to this year, Bespalova knew she was on track to finish in the top 3 again.

“I knew I would secure gold if I made my second attempts in snatch and clean and jerk.”

After finishing the snatches, she had a 6-kilo lead on the other athletes in her session. Following the clean and jerk session, her lead grew to 11 kilos in the overall total (snatch + clean and jerk).

This led to a gold medal finish for Bespalova, a career goal of hers since 2015.

When asked how her studies translate into her success in weightlifting, her response was quick, “Kinesiology helps me better understand the biomechanics of my body, energy systems and proper programing. I like being able to apply my knowledge to help me better myself as an athlete and grow as a person.”

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