Black Beaver athletes heading to Ogopogo Open

Five locals travelling to regional competitions

(Left to right) Tori Charlton, Danielle Richard, Hamish Charlton, Tammi Holmes and Alana Vignale. - Photo Jamie Shinkewski
(Left to right) Tori Charlton, Danielle Richard, Hamish Charlton, Tammi Holmes and Alana Vignale. – Photo Jamie Shinkewski

A landscaper by day and a server by night, Danielle Richard has also managed to train five days a week, sometimes for a two and half hour session, for the last two and half months. It’s all in preparation for the upcoming 12th Annual Ogopogo Open weightlifting competition in Winfield, B.C. on Aug. 13 and 14.

In just under a year, she’s progressed from zero experience to heading into her first competition.

“I feel good,” she said, after finishing a training session focusing on the push jerk, one of her favourite lifts. “It’s been so good to get good at being strong.”

She’ll be competing alongside the team from Sun Peaks’ Black Beaver Crossfit, including co-owner Tori Charlton who has been guiding her training while also preparing herself. Alanna Vignale, a seasoned lifter, will also join the team in the
competition.

Black Beaver co-owner Hamish Charlton and another local competitor, Tammi Holmes, are competing in Sweat Fest, a dedicated Crossfit competition in Kamloops from Aug. 5 to 7.

The competitions are close to marking the one year anniversary for the new gym and local business. Looking back, Tori said she’s proud of the inroads they’ve made into the community.

“We’ve really been branching out. At first it was a lot of our friends, but now it’s a lot of people we don’t know at all who have been signing up,” referencing different programs they run, including Crossfit Light, made up of a group senior ladies and Crossfit Teens, which will be starting up again in the winter.

Alana Vignale is one of three Sun Peaks competitors that will travel to the Ogopogo Open. - Photo Jamie Shinkewski
Alana Vignale is one of three Sun Peaks competitors that will travel to the Ogopogo Open. – Photo Jamie Shinkewski

While Crossfit is sometimes regarded as an intimidating sport, Black Beaver has made the effort to ensure anyone can train in their gym, and Olympic weightlifting is merely one component to the programing.

“We really like to see everyone progress,” said Tori. “I’m really proud of the girls and it’s going to be a fun weekend competing.”

Each competitor will perform six lifts for the judge, three clean and jerks and three snatches. The first lift will be a weight they are comfortable with, followed by one close to their recent personal best. If all goes to plan, the third lift will be heavier than they’ve lifted before, fueled by the atmosphere of competition towards a new personal record.

‘I’m really just excited for the experience,” said Richard. “We have more competitions in the future so it’s something to build on.”

The team has their sights set on two other upcoming competitions around the province and Tori said she hopes they’re laying the groundwork for more gym members to come on board as competitors, specifically women.

“The women’s registration is full at this event,” she said. “It’s a lot of Crossfitters. It’s really given new life to weightlifting. It was a dying sport.”

While Richard said she feeling some nerves heading into it, it helps to have her team and coaches behind her.

“I just really want to thank Tori and Hamish,” she said. “For dealing with my sweat, tears and complaints. And really just for putting in that extra time with me.”

“I think everyone just needs to find their outlet,” said Tori. “For Danielle, that’s maybe not completely Crossfit, but it’s definitely weightlifting. It’s been amazing to see her progress so quickly, especially over these last two months.”

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