Canada’s Tokyo 2020 weightlifting team announced
TORONTO (June 18, 2021) – On Friday, the Canadian Weightlifting Federation Haltérophile Canadienne and the Canadian Olympic Committee announced Canada’s weightlifting team nominated to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The five athletes (four women and one man) qualified for Team Canada based on their IWF Absolute Ranking, which took into account results from November 2018 to the end of April 2020, and from October 2020 to the end of May 2021. This team will be Canada’s largest Olympic weightlifting team since Beijing 2008. The Tokyo 2020 team will feature four Canadian women, a new record for Canadian Olympic weightlifting.
Maude Charron (Rimouski, Que.) is the highest-ranked of the four women, sitting at number three in the 64kg IWF Absolute Ranking. After only beginning to compete in weightlifting in 2015, Charron won the gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and most recently at the Pan American Championships in April 2021 where she broke three continental records for her weight class.
After finishing fourth at the TORONTO 2015 Pan American Games, Kristel Ngarlem (Montreal, Que.) dislocated her shoulders, which prevented her from competing at that year’s world championships, which left her unable to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. She has finished inside the top 10 at the last three IWF World Championships (2017-19), and at the 2020 IWF World Cup, she set a personal best, lifting a total of 233kg. She will be making her Olympic debut in the 76kg event at Tokyo 2020.
“Qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games represents resilience, passion and pride in all the hard work I have put in over the past few years,” said Ngarlem. “Going to the Olympics is a young girl’s dream and I can’t wait to make it a reality and have the honour of representing Canada. I am very excited to participate and am filled with gratitude to fly to Tokyo this summer.”
Rachel Leblanc-Bazinet (Richelieu, Que.), competing in 55kg, and Tali Darsigny, competing at 59kg, (Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.) are both coached by Darsigny’s father, Yvan, who is a two-time Olympian (Los Angeles 1984, Barcelona 1992). Reflecting on the year of the pandemic, Leblanc-Bazinet said, “After a year of uncertainty, the Games finally feel real. The team’s sacrifices and countless hours of training will at last be put to the test. I could not be happier to be named to Team Canada.”
Boady Santavy (Sarnia, Ont.) will be the sole Canadian male weightlifter competing in Tokyo. He is ranked fifth in the 96kg IWF Absolute Ranking. Santavy will become the second Olympian in his family, following his grandfather Bob who competed at Montreal 1976 and was also named to the Mexico City 1968 team before sustaining an injury.
Olympic weightlifting will be gender equal for the first time at Tokyo 2020, where there will be seven events each for both men and women. This program change has led to some adjustments in weight classes. The men’s events, designated by their upper weight limit, will be 61kg, 67kg, 73kg, 81kg, 96kg, 109kg and +109kg. The women’s events are 49kg, 55kg, 59kg, 64kg, 76kg, 87kg and +87kg.
Canada’s most decorated Olympic weightlifter is Christine Girard, who won gold at London 2012 after a bronze at Beijing 2008. She was the first Canadian woman to win an Olympic weightlifting medal. Canada’s first Olympic medal in weightlifting came at Helsinki 1952 when Gerry Gratton won silver. Jacques Demers won Canada its second silver medal in the sport at Los Angeles 1984.
“It’s very exciting to recognize the nominations of our weightlifting athletes,” said Team Canada’s Tokyo 2020 Chef de Mission, Marnie McBean. “This is an iconic Olympic sport and this Canadian record number of women named, which builds on the legacy of Christine Girard’s success, sends an incredible message to young Canadians about how powerful women can be.”
Weightlifting at Tokyo 2020 will take place July 24 to August 4, 2021 (Day 1 to 12) at the Tokyo International Forum.
The athletes and coaches nominated are:
- Rachel Leblanc-Bazinet (Richelieu, Que.) – Women’s 55kg
- Tali Darsigny (Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.) – Women’s 59kg
- Maude Charron (Rimouski, Que.) – Women’s 64kg
- Kristel Ngarlem (Montreal, Que.) – Women’s 76kg
- Boady Santavy (Sarnia, Ont.) – Men’s 96kg
- Dalas Santavy (Sarnia, Ont.) – Coach
- Jean-Patrick Millette (Montreal, Que.) – Coach
- Yvan Darsigny (Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.) – Coach
Prior to being named to Team Canada, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Team Selection Committee following its receipt of nominations by all National Sport Organisations.
Craig Walker, President
Canadian Weightlifting Federation Haltérophile Canadienne
Josh Su, Specialist, Public Relations
Canadian Olympic Committee