Power lifting is on the verge of gaining ground on Cayman’s sports scene.
One of the people who have a big role in that regard is David Pattaway.
The Freehold, New Jersey native was the head coach of the Cayman team that competed at the 2009 Pan-American and North American Power Lifting Championship.
Pattaway guided the Cayman team in hauling nine medals: six golds, two silvers and one bronze.
In addition Pattaway coached the Cayman junior team to accumulate enough points to earn the overall team trophy in the sub-junior section.
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).
Tony competed as a regular lifter in the open 190lb weight class.
Pattaway is not all talk as the 50 year old has a wealth of experience in the sport.
‘I got into weight-lifting while in the air force in 1983. At that time I was with an air force unit in the Phillipines. I was stationed at the now closed Clarke airbase as an aircraft mechanic.
‘From there I never stopped and I did like 12 meets a year up to 1991. From 1986-1991 I was US national champion in my weight class, was part of the US national team and placed silver at the world championship.
‘In 1991 I won gold at the world championship in Bendigo, Australia.’
Back in those days, when Pattaway was a trim and muscular twenty something, he competed in the 123 pound or 56kg weight class.
He proudly states he never budged from that class in his career.
‘I weighed 120 pounds and stayed in my weight class for my whole power lifting career. I stopped lifting professionally in 1991 though I still lifted heavy a few years ago up to when I came here.’
Pattaway came to Cayman in 2003 and has been on Grand Cayman ever since. Most of the time he can be found at the GNC store at the Queens Court plaza. There he oversees everything as operations manager.
As the devoted husband and father of three daughters states, he came to the island for work.
‘I was working in Florida, got in touch with some people and I was basically recommended to the job here in Cayman.’
From there it wouldn’t take long for Pattaway to get on the gym scene and meet influential fitness people.
‘Two of the first people I met were Tony McInerney and Lawrence ‘Fire’ Johnson (known for his exploits in body building). I wasn’t power lifting per say but we all trained together and I passed on tips to them. In fact I became Tony’s training partner as he wanted to be competitive and become a professional.
‘Eventually we created the power lifting association, which is about six months old now.’
The relatively new Cayman Power Lifting Association sees Pattaway as national coach, McInerney as Vice President and Rex Whittaker (known more for his involvement in flag football and softball) as the inaugural President.
Though the group is young Pattaway says it already has many plans.
‘The next step from here is to harness what we have now and try to get power lifting in the schools. That way the kids benefit by doing something positive and are kept off the streets and out of trouble.
‘We’d also like to send a team to Guyana for the Caribbean championship and possibly Puerto Rico for another meet there.’