Callum Maclagan prepares to lift in Port McNeill meet.

Power on display in McNeill

There was indeed a show of strength at the Coast Forest Industries Ltd. gym in Port McNeill last weekend.

The Iron Chisel, a Special Olympics Powerlifting team from Port McNeill, hosted a powerlifting meet against Team Dog from Campbell River on Saturday, Nov. 12.

Iron Chisel team members Anthony Schofield, Tony Shepley, and John Bee all competed in three different type of lifts, the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift, and all three broke their own personal lifting records while wowing the audience that came out to cheer them on.

Another attraction was the massive Callum Maclagan from Campbell River, who easily deadlifted over 400 pounds without breaking a sweat.

Maclagan was accompanied by Team Dog teammates Tye Cranton and Mickey Hildebrandt.

Maclagan’s dad, George, stopped to talk to this reporter about how his son got started in the Special Olympics powerlifting world.

“He’s been lifting for eight years now,” said George. “God made him big. He found powerlifting on his own, and then I became his coach.”

George joked that Callum “coaches me as much as I coach him,” before adding that they wanted to hold this meet in Port McNeill to help “build Special Olympics powerlifting around the province. I just love the Special Olympics and how it gives back to my family.

“I get to watch Callum grow as a person and it makes a world of difference in my life. It keeps him focused. He’s got goals and all those come from Special Olympics powerlifting.”

The Iron Chisel’s coaches Rob Engel and Chris Stewart were thrilled with how the meet went for their team.

“I thought it went fantastic,” said Stewart, adding that anytime you “get a group of individuals together in the Special Olympics community, it’s really special. You could feel the excitement in the air. I saw tears – I saw people crying.”

Stewart, who’s been coaching the team for two years now, stated their next meet will probably be down in Richmond, where they’re going to compete in the Westerns.

When asked what his favourite moment from the meet was, Stewart replied that “When you see an individual pick up over 400 pounds, that’s enough to make any man stop and do a double take. Callum is unbelievable,” before adding that he was equally proud of his own team.

“It was amazing to see these young fellows achieve their personal best on different stations, and that’s huge.”

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