WEYBURN – Former local weightlifter Alexis Ashworth was selected for Team Canada to compete at the Commonwealth Games this summer in Birmingham, England, calling it “definitely a dream come true.”
She has been training in Olympic weightlifting for two and a half years, getting her start at CrossFit in Weyburn, and has been taking training as a nurse, with the goal to graduate as a registered nurse in the fall in Saskatoon.
Explaining how she ended up on Team Canada, Ashworth said, “I travelled to Toronto in February of this year to compete in the Canadian Invitational. This was considered an international meet and a qualifier for the Commonwealth Games. I ended up putting up my best total yet at this meet.”
“I snatched 98kg, and clean and jerked 122kg, for a total of 220kg. The ranking is based off of your total and it put me in the top ranking,” she added, pointing out that for someone to qualify for Team Canada they will sometimes take the top two or three per weight class and a lifter has to do specific meets in a specific period of time to qualify. To qualify for the Commonwealth Games, Team Canada takes the top No. 1 ranking from each weight class within the country.
“I will compete as a 71kg weightlifter this summer at the Commonwealth Games on Aug. 1,” said Ashworth.
“This is my first meet with Team Canada, so it’s a big one to do as my first as the Commonwealth Games is held every four years,” she said. “I am very honoured to represent the country, and our province, especially coming from a small town. Everyone knows everyone and there’s a ton of support between my family and friends,” she said, noting she grew up on a cattle and grain farm by Oungre, and graduated from the Weyburn Comprehensive School in 2017.
“This is definitely a dream come true, but this is just the start,” she added.
Asked if she will be aiming for the 2024 Olympic Games, she noted that the qualifying process for the Olympic begins in 2023 and runs into the first quarter of 2024.
“There are specific meets such as World Cup and World Championships that you must go to and perform at well,” she said.
The Commonwealth Games won’t count towards qualifying for the Olympics, but Ashworth noted, “It is a very good experience regardless and a good starting point to compete against some high level athletes.”
“It is incredibly hard to qualify now, as they cut the weight classes in half for the 2024 Olympics. Instead of 10 weight classes there are now only five, so the competition will become stiffer. And even if you are ranked first in your country, you still may not qualify because you have to be ranked top 10-12 in the world overall in the weight class – But it is my goal to give it my best shot,” she said.
“Even if I don’t get to go to the Olympics, I will get a lot of opportunities in the process with Team Canada going to other meets, such as worlds,” she added.
She has been training on her own, but she recently hired a professional weightlfiting coach from Bloomington, Indiana, and will go train with him there when she can.
“I’m proud of coming this far without an official coach, but having a coach will be very beneficial,” said Ashworth. “It was always the goal to make Team Canada, but it did happen very fast.”
The Commonwealth Games team flew to Sweden on Tuesday to train at the Eleiko headquarters for the week to bond as a team prior to the games.