Alberton native Natasha Dunn Kvedaras will be returning to Canada with four medals after competing at the International Powerlifting Federation World Championship in Helsingborg, Sweden.
Ms Dunn Kvedaras will be coming home with three silver medals, a bronze and two new national records, one in squat at 137.5 kg and a new national total at 380 kg. This was her first Worlds powerlifting event.
Competing on June 6, Ms Dunn Kvedaras ended the day with a personal best in squat and a bronze medal. Her bench was a little lighter than usual at 83.5 kg, which gave her a silver medal. Her deadlift was 160 kg, which tied her for first place, but since her competitor weighed slightly less than her she was awarded first place.
“Overall I placed second in the world,” said the 45-year-old in an interview with the Graphic from Copenhagen, Sweden on June 10. “I am extremely pleased with how I did, but I know that I have room to improve. I will do better.”
At the beginning of March, Ms Dunn Kvedaras won her age and weight class at the Canadian Powerlifting Union National Championships in Ottawa, where she broke five national records. That national win qualified her for a spot on Team Canada for Worlds.
Ms Dunn Kvedaras trains in Hamilton and Guelph, Ontario, where her coach Mark Giffin owns a gym.
“I haven’t had an ‘off season’ in years because there has always been competitions to prepare for,” she said. “In the past year I have missed one training day.”
She set some goals for herself leading to Worlds.
“I was nominated third in the world and I knew I was close to the lady from Norway who was in second place,” she said. “I wanted to increase all my lifts and see where that would take me.”
Her husband, Aras Kvedaras, is her handler on competition days and knows not to tell her where she’s placing throughout the competition.
“Just let me do my own lifts and let the chips fall where they may,” she said. “That seems to work for me and decreases the stress of the competition.”
But Worlds was still a huge learning experience for her as a competitor.
“With a six hour time difference, poor sleep and being very nervous the day of the competition definitely played a role in my lighter bench press,” she said honestly.
She was stressed during her bench press as it seemed heavier than usual.
“Then after my husband told me I won a silver medal. I cried and cried,” she said. “I had no idea I was doing that well. And after dead lifts I had no idea that I had tied for first place. I was so happy that I had a 5 kg increase over my personal best that I didn’t even know how well I was doing.”
She cried receiving her medals.
“It was a long road to get there and the journey was over,” she said.
With 67 countries competing in Sweden, 58 per cent of them female, with eight people in her weight class, Ms Dunn Kvedaras said her first time at Worlds was very successful.
“I’ve learned that time zones, interrupted sleep, different food and atmosphere makes it for a unique game day compared to a local meet,” she said. “I have made friends from all over the world and look forward to being able to represent Team Canada once again.”