By Juanita Hooper and Edison Jefford
Record breaking North American Power-lifting Federation (NAPF) female champion, Guyanese, Dawn Barker, yesterday paid a courtesy call on Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Dr. Frank Anthony, following her return from the historical Championships.
Barker was just sensational at the NAPF Regional Championships that was held in Miami at the Hyatt Hotel last month. She left the event with a gold medal in the 84+ Kg Class following what were record breaking performances in squats, dead-lift and bench-press.
She broke an eight-year-old North American squat record when she dipped 523.5 pounds that is also a new Commonwealth record. She also had a Commonwealth dead-lift record with 192.5kg and established an overall Commonwealth record with a 540kg total.
Anthony told the media and Guyana Amateur Power-lifting Federation (GABF) contingent that Guyana is proud of Barker’s achievements. He said that he is confident that Barker could head to number one in the world following her historic performance.
“I just want to say that on behalf of the Government and the ministry, we are indeed very proud of your achievements. You’re now the number one female power-lifter in Guyana, the Caribbean and indeed North America,” Anthony indicated yesterday.
Barker’s performance has given her a fifth place ranking in the world according to the website of the GAPF. Anthony said that the ranking is the highest Guyana has ever achieved, and one of the best that the country could have expected at the Championships.
“We know that in your training, and in Peter (Greene’s) ambition, that fifth place in the world is not good enough and we know that you have the capability of heading to number one,” Anthony encouraged the bulky, muscular, superwoman-looking athlete.
Anthony indicated that he recalled GABF President, Greene, telling him that Barker would go on to do Guyana very proud internationally when he first met her at Critchlow Labour College some time ago. The minister said Greene’s belief is being manifested.
“We’re indeed very happy of your achievements and we look forward to you continuing in what is a very difficult sport. We hope that you go on to that number one spot and once you put in the hard work, you will get us there,” Anthony reiterated at his Main Street office.
Greene informed that Barker is the only athlete in the NAPF region to be ranked so high. He said that he does not anticipate that the female lifter will fall outside the top 10 rakings in the world in time to come. Greene said a lot is expected of the Barker in the future.
“Barker is the only Caribbean athlete and Central American athlete to be ranked so high. There is no doubt that as the rest of the years go on, it is safe to say that I don’t feel that she will tilt under the top ten; she is here to stay in the top ten,” Greene indicated.
The GABF President believes that Barker’s performance will motivate women to get involved in the sport. “This is a tremendous achievement; I would expect records to be broken again, maybe later on in the year, but this is worthy of national celebration,” he added.
In her brief response, Barker, who is from Linden, thanked the minister, Greene, her family, gym and the Government for their support. “I am elated right now and I would just like to thank those who supported me right now,” the athlete stated in closing.
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