Reno Youth Weightlifters Qualify for National Championships

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For the first time ever, Nevada will be represented at the USA Weightlifting National Youth Championships.

Sophia Suwinski, Faith Jones, and Abigail Yeung, have all qualified for the June competition in Bloomington, Minnesota, and Jazmine Gayhart will have a chance to qualify later this month.

"I'm very excited," said Suwinski. "I've never been to Minnesota and this is only my first year weightlifting. I've only done four competitions so this will be cool."

"It's really cool," added Gayhart. "To be honest, it kind of feels like I'm already in the Olympics because I'm representing Nevada."

"It's really fun to compete," said Jones. "You just have a lot of energy, and also, the Mall of America is in Minnesota so I can go shopping."

The girls range from twelve years old all the way down to six.

"(Abigail Yeung) is definitely very young," said coach Chandler Walker. "She's done gymnastics since she was about three years old, and then she started weightlifting at about six and she's been doing it for the last year."

When it comes to youth weightlifting, both coach Walker and coach Stephanie Bentley say that safety is the most important element.

"Safety is number one with youth and any kind of children you're training," said Walker. "You really need to find people who understand how children work. The program has to be biased towards children."

"They do a lot of extra accessory work to make sure that they can handle the weight and be comfortable under a loaded bar," said Bentley. "We don't ever let them max beyond what they're capable of. As soon as we notice any technique, form, anything like that falling apart, we're like 'Oh, drop the bar. Take it down.' We don't let them go over anything heavier than what they're capable of."

The USA Weightlifting National Youth Championships run from June 25-29.