Determination and dedication can lead to succeeding at anything in life. That’s the message Sumeet Sharma was passing onto students at William Cook Elementary School last week.
In the past four years, the 33-year-old corrections officer has evolved into one of the top powerlifters in the country. His 2019 accomplishments include winning silver in bench press at the Commonwealth Championships in Newfoundland and gold as a member of Team Canada at the North and South American Championships in Panama.
Sharma will be looking for more success at next month’s Nationals in Winnipeg which would also put him back on the Canadian team headed to the World Championships in the Czech Republic.
Back in high school, powerlifting and podium finishes were far from Sharma’s train of thought.
“I was quite overweight. I ate a lot of junk food, deep fried food and never worked out,” he recalled.
The turning point was when he enrolled in some health science courses at Douglas College.
“It just really changed my perspective on things like my eating habits. I talked to trainers. I talked to instructors,”Sharma continued. “I really wanted to make a difference in my life. I went from about 201 pounds to 173 in a six to eight month period from conditioning and eating right. I was well-grounded and determined. I learned a lot from there and started with the weights.
He soon discovered he was a natural for powerlifting and was encouraged by many to go into competition. Following a year of training and working with a coach, he entered his first event in 2016 and has never looked back — not only enjoying the sport but the camaraderie that comes with it too.
“The experience has changed my perspective on so many things, he said.” There is no negativity in the sport at all. Everyone wants you to succeed, including my competitors. I thought it be like a hockey game. Instead I have learned a lot about sportsmanship and leadership.”
Sharma speaks regularly at elementary and high schools to share his story.
“They are our next generation,” he added. “For the younger kids I only talk briefly about dietitian with them but I’m sure they are all aware what a gold medal is.
“It’s telling them about the determination and dedication I put into this. If they put the time and effort into anything, they can make it.
“I want them to hear my story and hopefully it inspires them.”