Kids lift their way to medal haul

Strength and poise normally come with age.

However a group of young Caymanian weight lifters recently provided an exception to that rule.

This month five young men travelled to Miami, Florida for the 2009 Pan-American and North American Power Lifting Championship.

Put on by the North American Power Lifting association, the competition drew 244 strong people representing 18 countries.

Out of that field Cayman hauled nine medals: six golds, two silvers and one bronze.

In addition the Cayman junior team accumulated enough points to earn the overall team trophy in the sub-junior section.

Among the countries Cayman beat out were the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico (traditional power-houses in the sport).

The performance defied much conventional logic. Two of the boys, who are not even 18 yet, executed a 470lb dead-lift. That’s more than some grown men can do who frequent the gym.

The majority of the boys are not muscle-bound either and look like every other child.

Moreover the team of youngsters just got into the sport roughly two months ago. Considering their inexperience it’s a major step for them to have such success in their first international event.

The Cayman competitors consisted of Jameal Welcome (15), Chris Myles (15), Juan Tena (16), Kenrick McField (17) and Tony McInerney (who is in his late 30s).

All of the boys formed the junior team and competed in the sub-junior division in various weight classes.

Tony competed as a regular lifter in the open 190lb weight class.

David Pattaway served as head coach for the group with Cayman Islands Power-Lifting Organization President Rex Whittaker present at the event.

Pattaway can be found most days at the GNC store in Queens Court after spending nearly a decade competing in the sport.

The Freehold, New Jersey native was left utterly impressed with the team’s performance.

‘The future is bright for these kids. Two months ago they didn’t know what a dead lift was. They practised twice a week, stuck with it and excelled.

‘They all set personal records at the event and I knew they had that drive in them. They did exactly what I wanted them to do.’