The Cayman Islands is set to hold the tenth annual International and North American Regional Powerlifting Championships.
It runs from 24-28 July and there will be around 100 lifters from 12 countries competing at the Westin Hotel on West Bay Road. It is also a World Games qualifier for next year’s competition in Cali, Brazil. The first day is the opening ceremony and the competition starts on 25 July.
Cayman will have a strong team, consisting of five women, Tiffany Eason, Jennifer La Grande, Saskia Walsh, Laura Watler and junior girl, Britney Helvester. In the Cayman men’s team there are four seniors; Sean Miller, Tony Reid, Tony McInerney and Kevin Gibson and the juniors are Jamar Timothy, Jameal Welcome, James Geary, Zared McLaughlin, Alexander Bodden and Matthew Ebanks. They train in the weights room at the D. Dalmain Ebanks Boxing gym.
McInerney is the team coach and will be competing himself in the Under-93 kg class. “I’m hoping for the juniors to pull off the team event, because they’re capable,” he said. “We won it back in 2009 and we want to reclaim it here. As a coach, that’s my goal.
“We also have some national records that are going to be broken by Zared McLaughlin who competes in the 66kg (145 lbs) class.”
Other countries wanted to host this event but on the strength of how well McInerney hosted the Caribbean Powerlifting Championships here last year, Cayman got the nod.
“It was initially going to go to Mexico and then it was a toss up if it was going to go to the US and then they asked me if I would be good enough to take it back in here.
“We’re still stressed and looking for sponsors to make this championship a great success. It is hard to get money and in the gym it is tight for space. It is harder each time because the sport is gradually growing here.” McInerney only came into powerlifting seven years ago after a lifetime of playing Gaelic football, hurling, running and working out in gyms. He stumbled on powerlifting by chance at a gym in Grand Cayman and has been devoted to it ever since.
The 40-year-old Irishman, who has his own plumbing business, will be in the masters category for the first time.
He is appreciative of the sponsors who have backed this tournament so far, Harneys, Dart Enterprise, the Department of Tourism, Westin Hotel, Cayman Airways, Mac Plumbing, Otis Air, National Concrete, Lions Productions, Solomon & Harris, Stewart Siebens, Titan Support and Rooster Z99.