Benoits make their mark at provincial competition
It's not often you see a father and son competing together in the sport of powerlifting.
© Clayton Hunt photo
Bob and Devin Benoit make up one of the rare father-son powerlifting duos in the province’s sporting history. They both competed at a provincial powerlifting event in St. John’s in June where both came away with gold medals.
So Devin Benoit, aged 19, and his father Robert (Bob), 48, are probably pretty unique.
Earlier this summer the duo from Conne River, each won a gold medal in their class in a powerlifting competition in St. John's.
Devin won a gold medal in the Junior 83 kg class at the event while Bob won in the Master 1, 120kg class and in the Master 1, 120 plus bench only class.
Devin Benoit began to seriously train in the sport of powerlifting when he was in grade nine at St. Anne’s.
“I had been into weights for a few years and became interested in powerlifting after seeing our physical education teacher, Paul McDonald, train for the sport,” Devin told The Advertiser in a recent interview. “I saw him do the main compound lifts — squat, bench and deadlift — and how he trained for the sport.”
With encouragement from his father, Devin asked the teacher if he could train with him.
“He did and basically became my coach and mentor in the sport.”
Devin has remained very active in the sport since beginning his formal training with McDonald. He quickly became dedicated to his training and, to date, has competed in 10 formal competitions.
“It’s hard to explain why I’m so dedicated to this sport and why I’ve stayed with it over the last several years. It’s just that I’ve enjoyed doing this since I started my serious training. I look forward to coming to the gym and training hard and this has been a major factor in my success.”
While he has competed mostly at the provincial level, he did participate in national events in Prince Edward Island in 2011 and at Vancouver in 2013.
Devin also was at the Powerlifting World Championships in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, in 2011.
His most recent event was at a provincial competition where he won a gold medal in the Junior 83 kg class.
He said his next formal competition will be in St, John’s in November.
“I have my sights on the Nationals in St. John’s in April, 2015, and from there to go on to the 2015 World Championship, which is usually held about the end of August each year.”
Devin said he plans to continue with the sport at least for the foreseeable future.
“I hope to continue competing as long as possible with an ultimate aim of representing my community, province and country at more international events.
“It’s not so much about the winning for me as I am more interested in representing my country at those events.”
To date Devin holds provincial records in the 93 kg and 105 kg divisions in the sub-junior age class.
Dad on board
It was Devin who inspired his father, Bob, to get involved in the sport.
The elder Benoit said he realized he needed to lose weight and start a healthier lifestyle after too many years of enjoying the “slow life.
“I saw Devin start powerlifting when he was in junior high and saw how quickly he progressed and how good he got. Devin and his friend, Misel Jeddore, encouraged me to start training with them, so I decided to give it a try.
“I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
With Devin’s advice and with coaching tips from McDonald and other power lifters that Devin had met in St. John’s, Bob says he “really got into the groove of powerlifting.”
After training seriously for about a year, Bob decided in mid-January to enter his first competition in June.
“It was a very special feeling to be in the same competition with my son and the other powerlifters closer to my age,” he told the Advertiser. “To be competing with the big boys and Devin on the same stage at the same event was tremendous.
“I’ve gotten into ruts in this activity when it’s been hard to come to the gym. Devin’s encouragement, enthusiasm and dedication have kept me going, and, barring injury, I plan to attend my next event in St. John’s in November.
“My son is my role model in all of this. I’m envious of his training habits, his diet habits, his dedication, his dreams and aspirations in this sport and of how he pushes and conducts himself,” said Bob, adding he gets his strength from his son and he hopes to be able to compete with him at more events.
“I have to say that the encouragement from other powerlifters, both male and female, has also been very encouraging.
“Although it’s great to be in a competition with and against other lifters, my aim is to beat my personal records in each lift in November.”