A B.C. powerlifter is turning his usual fundraising efforts towards Europe.
Sumeet Sharma said he was moved to action after watching TV reports about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. So Sharma approached one of his sponsors, Supplement King, to get something rolling.
“Being a member of the team Canada powerlifting team, (we) decided that we wanted to help the people in Ukraine,” said Sharma, a B.C. Corrections officer in Surrey. “So my team and I have teamed up with the Canada-Ukraine Foundation to donate money for the people (there).”
He said the money they raise will go towards shelter and health-care supplies. They have donation boxes set up at both Surrey Supplement King locations—one in the Strawberry Hill Shopping Centre and one in Newton Square Mall.
Sharma said potential donors can also visit the Canada-Ukraine Foundation website and give there.
“So far (the Canada-Ukraine Foundation) has sent $500,000 for medical supplies and shelter for the people of Ukraine,” said Sharma. “I feel a lot of people in B.C. want to help the people in Ukraine, but they don’t know how. I feel this is a good way for the people (here) to help.”
Sharma said helping others is important to him.
In 2020, he started another initiative to help those in need. During the pandemic, Sharma was the face of a donation drive that went to support teachers and frontline workers.
Sharma also took all the money he was given by sponsors to travel to compete in the Czech Republic that year and used it to purchase food and supplies for others, as his competition was cancelled because of COVID.
Sharma loves powerlifting and is grateful he’s been able to travel across Canada and around the world to compete. As such, he tries to give back as much as he can.
Sharma has been competing in powerlifting since 2016. He recently won a gold medal in bench press at the North American Powerlifting Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica, in October, 2021. Sharma was one of three Canadians at the competition. He also won gold in both 2017 and 2018 at the Western Powerlifting Championships and he finished fourth in Canada for powerlifting in 2018.
“Powerlifting is a strength sport that consists of three attempts at maximum weight on any of three lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift,” explained Sharma.
Sharma has also been giving free training sessions to youth across the Lower Mainland. He also visits schools to give talks on powerlifting and on the importance of having a good diet.
“I never thought in my lifetime I would be seeing a war,” added Sharma. “Seeing the images on the news and reading about what is happening to the people in Ukraine, really touched me,” he said.
“It’s really upsetting what is happening there. I just want to help the people of Ukraine in any way possible,” he explained. “I hope this story inspires people in the community to make a donation to the Canada-Ukraine Foundation.”
Supplement King has two locations in Surrey, one at 140-12101 72 Avenue in the Strawberry Hill Shopping Centre and one at 201-7093 King George Blvd in the Newton Square Mall.