The Comox Valley is home to two world powerlifting champions.
Last month at worlds in Limerick, Ireland, Courtenay resident Sean Hayes won the overall and the deadlift-only portion in the 140kg class of the open age division. The IPL (International Powerlifting League) championship was a drug-tested event.
Comox resident Zara Nybo, 18, won the junior (15-19 years) and open divisions in the 82.5 kilogram category at the same event.
The 29-year-old Hayes has won the B.C. championships for powerlifting a few times.
“Strongman is my main sport,” said Hayes, who runs the provincial strongman association. “I missed turning officially pro by one placing in my last event, but qualified for the Arnold (Strongman Classic) in March. It’s the biggest sports fest in the world in Columbus, Ohio.”
While visiting Ireland, he also completed the Dinnie Stones, a world famous lifting challenge.
“I’m about the 120th person to do so since 1860, then came close to a couple world records in the suitcase hold for time and farmer’s walk.”
Hayes trains out of his garage in East Courtenay. Once a week, a group of athletes drop by for training sessions.
“We call it the Hayes’ Garage Gym (HGG),” he said.