Victory Barbell Club athletes compete at Ontario Winter Games

This story will be published in the Spring 2023 issue of Total Sports Quinte magazine

Ethan Yuke won a gold medal in weightlifting as four young athletes, ages 13 to 15, from Belleville’s Victory Barbell Club competed at the Ontario Winter Games in Renfrew back in February.

Yuke is only 15, but says he has been lifting since he eight thanks to the support and guidance from coach Gary Lewis, who also happens to be a neighbour to his family.

“He was always talking to me about lifting. I used to play hockey and he’d always say you’re not a goalie you’re a lifter,” Yuke recalled. “I enjoy lifting because it’s a fun sport and I enjoy the challenge. My coach is amazing and all the lifters at Victory are a lot of fun and encouraging to be around.”

At the Ontario Winter Games, Yuke captured gold in his division, snatching 87 kilograms (191 pounds) and jerking 105 kilograms (231 pounds). He didn’t believe Coach Lewis when informed of his win.

“Winning the gold medal at the Ontario Winter Games was awesome/ It’s hard to put into words exactly how I felt. I actually didn’t even believe my coach at first when he said I’d won. It was all very overwhelming,” Yuke said.

“This was the biggest competition I’d ever been in and it was an honour to just be there. It was an amazing experience and a great feeling to step on that podium surrounded by such fantastic lifters. I also had a lot of people cheering me on because my dad (Sheldon) went to high school in Barry’s Bay so there was extended family and friends there as well as my Victory family.”

Victory Barbell Club was also well-represented at the Ontario Winter Games by Madalyn Tyrer, McKenna Vanluven and Ryker Pigden.

The club is located at 222 Sunrise Drive, just over the Norris Whitney Bridge heading towards Prince Edward County.

Follow the Victory Barbell Club on Facebook.