By Franklin Wilson
Quite often when athletes excel not much is heard of or about the coach, the individual (s) who would have been getting the athlete (s) in shape and prepared to conquer the opposition.
Traditionally, or some would say, most of the times, the best athletes would come from the city and while that might be so in some sports, powerlifting in the junior ranks has proven different.
The Ancient County of Berbice in the past few years has been producing some phenomenal athletes the likes of Anis Ade-Thomas, Vijai Rahim, the Shewdas brothers Gumendra and Suraj,
Fabian Ketwaroo, Kevin Brijlall,
Located at Corriverton in Berbice is an unsound Gym named Total Fitness Gym which has been in existence since 1980. It is home to Guyana’s first Sub-Junior World Powerlifting Champion, Gumedra and brother Suraj, Rahim, Ade-Thomas, Ketwaroo.
The man behind churning out all these champion athletes who have excelled at the national, Caribbean, regional and international levels is Egbert Fitzpatrick Jackson.
Speaking about Shewdas’ achievement, Coach Jackson, who taught Physical Education for over 30 years, noted that at his gym there is a heavy focus on fitness training.
“So we develop strength, speed, power, endurance, and reaction but with Shewdas being a powerlifter, we concentrate more on the strength aspect.”
Giving an insight on how the world beater would prepare, Jackson said that essentially for a competition, they would maximize on repetitions for the various exercises.
“We would gradually walk him down until shortly before competition when we would reduce the sets. Of course we watch things like his body weight, we start taking out fat and sugar as well as restrict salt from his diet.”
Quizzed on how he felt about Shewdas’ achievement, Jackson stated that he wasn’t surprised since they plotted the path for his eventual triumph.
“We actually suspected that if he was going the way he was going it was a done deal. But as I always say, though we strongly felt he would have won we were still happy when he won because you can trip just before the tape but he didn’t, he held his nerve.”
While Jackson believes strongly that Shewdas’ achievement would serve as a further fillip for the sport in the Ancient County and by extension, Guyana, he reminded that the biggest hurdle they are faced with, is the support factor.
“As you get higher up the ladder, it becomes crucial in relation to gear and supplements. They are always improving on the type of gear they wear. For example they have brought out a new wrap recently, it doesn’t squeeze you a lot but it gives you a lot of rebound out of the hole but it costs US$30.00.”
The experienced trainer reasoned that if the athlete cannot afford that and goes to a competition against a lifter of similar ability who can afford it, that athlete will certainly enjoy the advantage since they will get five, ten pounds more.
“Once we have the requisite support in place the sky is the limit. We have a couple of very talented guys. Gumendra did exceptionally well and I hope he keeps going from strength to strength.”
Like many of our other powerlifetrs, Shewdas was one of the athletes selected for drug testing.
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