One of Canada’s strongest women is from Kelowna and she is currently cranking up the heat in preparation to compete in the 2023 Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships in India.
Kayla Shepard will compete in the 59kg weight class at the Olympic lifting competition in Delhi the week of July 11.
Shepard is a member of the Kelowna Vikings Olympic Weightlifting club and trains under coach Guy Greavette, who will be accompanying her to the meet as one of the coaches for team Canada.
While she is one of the favourites to win, Shepard said that she is not focusing on the pressure of bringing home a medal for Canada and instead, is just embracing the competition.
“I am just trying to do what I can to not fear the pressure.”
Shepard explained that many aspects of the competition will be out of her control, including how she will feel after a 14 hour flight, the availability of her favourite foods, and how others perform on the day. Shepard said that in preparation for the meet she is just focusing on herself, her training and the tangible things that are in her power to control.
“I am focusing on what I can control, not what I can’t.”
Last year, Shepard competed at the Pan American Championships in Columbia, which was her first international meet. It was also marked the first time a female lifter from the Okanagan has competed at an international event.
Shepard has been training hard, lifting five days each week for months to get strong for the Championships in India.
As a lifelong multi-sport athlete, Shepard said that she enjoys the process of training.
She started lifting in her early teens while competing in snowboard cross. Since then she slowly transitioned into lifting through cross-fit before focusing on Olympic lifting.
However, before she ever strapped on a board or lifted her first dumbbell, Shepard’s athletic career began as a dancer.
“It’s where I started building some athletic ability and skill.”
Her old studio, the Village Dance Academy, is one of two companies helping to fund expenses associated with the international competition.
Shepard is also sponsored by Flooring for Less.