Image supplied: Janique Lafond prepares for her lift during the Western Regional meet in Sept. 2018.
A Cold Lake woman is preparing for a trip to Sweden in the summertime.
Nothing too out of the ordinary, just a summer trip to Europe for a week, do some sight-seeing, take in another culture.
But this isn’t one of those summer trips. The reason for Janique Lafond’s trip is all business.
She was selected to go to the 2019 IPF World Classic Powerlifting Championships in Helsingborg, Sweden, thanks to her incredible performance at Nationals this March.
Janique won silver in the Master 2-52kg lift and established three new provincial records while competing in Ottawa.
Not bad for a 54-year-old competitor that just started powerlifting a year and a half ago.
“I was kind of reluctant about the whole thing about doing it and I wasn’t sure with my age group, you know? And so I said to her [my daughter], you go and ask my personal trainer. If she says I can do it, then I will do it. Thinking that Jessica [her trainer] would probably say, no,” said Lafond.
“But she says, ‘Oh yeah, of course, she can do it.’ So I promised her so I said, okay. I started to train and went to my first meet in Edmonton power search. From that day I was hooked on continuing with powerlifting.”
Janique works out four times a week for a couple hours in different training programs, watches her diet closely, and up until September was working full-time while training.
Now, she’ll be one of 100 and more Canadians who’ll compete this summer on the world stage.
The atmosphere at competitions is one of the reasons she enjoys the sport so much.
“That’s the thing about powerlifting in those competitions is you go there and everybody is cheering for you. Even if they’re your competitors, they’re cheering for you. It’s not like a hockey game or anything like this. It’s such good support, such a good environment that’s what I like the most about the sport,” said Lafond.
Janique competed in a provincial tournament in June, a regional in September and then qualified for the national meet a couple weeks ago thanks to the strength of her lifts.
“In the beginning, you really have to mentally prepare yourself because it’s very hard when you competing against someone like a lady that has been competing for 13 years. Here you are just barely a year and a half under your belt, so you really have to sit back and basically to tell yourself that you’re competing against yourself and not against anybody else,” said Lafond.
“That’s the mindset that I go with, is doing the best you can on the platform and let’s see how it turns out.”
Janique is married and a mother of two kids. She thanks her husband Kurt for the support he’s given her over the past year and a half, her personal trainer Jessica Taylor, and her daughter Kayla especially for being at her side since the start.
“My daughter actually has been to every competition that I’ve been to. She was actually my coach in at Nationals, so she been running my numbers. So running your numbers, meaning the warm-ups, she has to decide what I’m going to do to warm up and then decide what I lift for my next set depending on how you perform, how you feel,” said Janique.
“She’s the encouragement and she’s the one that keeps me going.”
She is excited to have the opportunity to compete internationally but has some advice for others who doubt themselves.
“If they want to do something like this, you can’t you can do whatever you want, no matter how old you are just mean that because you’re getting older that you can’t do those things. You have limitations but it’s still possible for you to succeed.”