It's taken Squamish powerlifters Tonya Motyka and Kevin Haberl years to make it to the national competitions, but it was worth the wait.
By the end of the Canadian Powerlifting Union Nationals on March 3 and 4, Motyka and Haberl had both earned their spot at the top of the podium, each taking first in their respective categories.
The competition took place Winnipeg, with hundreds of athletes in the running.
Squamish Barbell coach Bifano said it's the first time the gym has sent its athletes to nationals for the CPU federation.
"It's tricky to get there. You have to compete provincially, then if you've never gone to nationals before, you have to go to regionals. It's kind of been a multi-year process for these two," he said.
The athletes qualified for the nationals in Sept. 2018. Then they have two years to attend the national competition.
Motyka earned the national record for her back squat, only to have it broken by another competitor minutes later by 1 kilogram, Bifano said. She still won her division and provincial records for the squat and deadlift, despite her benchpressing 60 pounds lighter than her personal best due to an ongoing injury.
Haberl earned personal records, a national record on the squat and provincial records of the dead and total lifts.
"It was a fantastic meet for those two, overall," Bifano said.