Corey McBeath trains five times a week at the Lake Trail weight room.

Corey McBeath preparing for Canadian weightlifting championships

Courtenay lifter enjoys the challenge and life lessons that come with the sport

Corey McBeath is driven to succeed.

From racing cars at Saratoga Speedway when he was 11 years old to going to the Canadian weightlifting championships as a 25-year-old, McBeath is proof positive that hard work and dedication will get you where you want to go.

McBeath went to the B.C. championships in Richmond in December with the goal of qualifying for the Canadians.

“It went well,” he understated.

Competing in the 94kg weight class, his first clean and jerk of 140 kilos qualified him for nationals.

“Then I did 150 kilos that we thought was going to place me second. I then did 160 kilos which got me first place.”

McBeath made it look easy in the snatch event as well.

“I started with 117 kilos, then did 124 kilos for my last one. My previous personal record in competition was 115 kilos. I really blew it out of the water.”

Needing a total of 263 kilos to qualify for nationals, McBeath was way over with 284. It was the third time he has qualified for the Canadians, but this will be the first time he will attend.

“I haven’t been able to go to the other ones because it would have cost me like three or four grand just to get there. This one is close (May 21-22 in Richmond) and I should be ready for it.”

McBeath began weightlifting in Grade 7 at Lake Trail Secondary, home of the Lake Trail/Killerwhale Weightlifting Club. Under the guidance of coach Ed Lafleur, the club is still going strong today.

“My friend Lynden MacInnis introduced me to it. We competed head-to-head for a while, then I just kept going and he kind of veered off into his own thing,” said McBeath, who played many sports in high school but concentrated on soccer, volleyball and weightlifting.

Why the fascination with lifting?

“The challenge. It’s the most challenge I’ve had with any single sport. It actually taught me more than I thought it would. It taught me life lessons, stuff that I could carry on to a career.”

McBeath is working toward becoming a personal trainer and says, “The good thing about doing this for so long, what I carry over from being an athlete goes right into my personal training.

“I’ve gained so much from analyzing my body and making things work that I can transfer that onto other people I train,” added McBeath, who does volunteer work with a hockey program at StrongHearts Fitness (one of his sponsors) in Courtenay.

Along with his work at StrongHearts, McBeath still trains with the Killerwhales about 20 hours a week. Where will all this hard work lead?

McBeath says the 2020 Olympics in Japan are a long-range goal.

“I can see myself going as long as I don’t get injuries, which I haven’t got in 12 years in the sport.”

His long-time coach Lafleur notes that Canada generally only qualifies one or two male weightlifters to go to the Olympics, and while he feels McBeath has what it takes to be an Olympian, he says a more immediate goal is well within McBeath’s reach.

“In the Commonwealth Games we can send a full team (eight males, seven females). The next one is 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia and I think he’s got a really good shot at being selected to that team.

“From there it’s going to be a big challenge (due to the Olympic qualifying system), but if anyone can do it, it’s him,” said Lafleur, who in 2010 received a Sport BC Community Sport Hero Award for his many years of dedication to the sport.

Lafleur’s belief in McBeath is based on 13 years of coaching him.

“He’s really dedicated,” Lafleur said. “He’s one of the few athletes I’ve encountered in my career that pulls out his best at competition time. We go in with what we think are realistic goals, and something about the competition brings out the best in him. It continues to astound me. He’s been doing that pretty much since the first tournament.

“It’s really neat working with an athlete of his level. There’s some things for him I cannot do. I can’t write his programming because I’m not as knowledgeable about that as other people, so he gets international athletes from other countries to help him with that.

“I’m still a pretty good psychological coach and at competition time I’m a good competition coach. He wants me around when he competes. It’s important to have somebody who makes sure that everything you hear at a competition is up and positive. I’ve been doing it long enough that I know how to do that.”

For further inspiration, McBeath follows the feats of Kazakhstan lifter Ilya Ilyin, who has won two Olympic championships and four world championships.

McBeath’s Facebook page (CoreyMcBeathWeightlifting) has videos of him lifting and contact information for anyone interested in sponsorship opportunities.

He can also be reached through his email address: bombercar01@hotmail.com

Bombercar01? That goes back to when he was 11 years old and racing the General Lee 01 Bomber car at Saratoga.

“I had a $700 car and running against guys with $2,000 or $3,000 cars, McBeath recalls.

“I also raced Figure 8s and Sprint cars, and my dad (speedway class champion Rick Kosolfski) and I built a Dwarf car together, the Snuffleupagus.”

That’s where McBeath’s drive to succeed began. Today it continues in weight rooms and fitness centres as he shifts his attention to national and international success in the sport he enjoys best.

 

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