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Sudbury's Joel Asselin ready to give his all and then some

Weightlifter ready for a strong showing in 2018
Coming off a 2017 calendar year in which the 18-year-old Joel Asselin pretty much reached or exceeded each and every one of his goals, he is anxiously looking to all that 2018 has to offer. (Supplied)

Joel Asselin firmly believes that he has more to give.

Coming off a 2017 calendar year in which the 18-year-old local weightlifter pretty much reached or exceeded each and every one of his goals, Asselin is anxiously looking to all that 2018 has to offer.

"I feel like I can do a little bit better than last year, just because of all of the work I've been putting in," said Asselin, engaged in yet another training session with less than three weeks remaining before the Canadian Junior Weightlifting Championships in Halifax on Jan. 20.

"If everything goes well, I can hit at least 95kg (209 lbs) in the snatch, and 120kg (264) in the clean and jerk. I've hit 95 before, but not 120." 

The reality is that much has gone well since the ultra-dedicated local product first took up the sport at the age of 10.

Improvement is slow and steady these days, achieved through tried and true methods, as Asselin knows all too well. 

"For me, I believe it's both technical improvement and getting used to the weight," said the Cambrian College student.

"There's some things that I try and improve, technical-wise, and then once I get the technique down, I can do repetitions of the weights." 

It's a balancing act that does not come easy, not at this stage in his now busy life.

"Sometimes it's tough balancing between school, work and this," he said. "I try and do the lifting as much as possible, based on my schedule. It kind of works out, with my school schedule, because I have mostly later classes during the day, so I tend to come during the morning to train."

That regimen sees Asselin under the watchful eye of coach Alex Fera, at the home of the Sudbury Weightlifting Club in the basement of Bob Leclair's Minnow Lake residence, five to six times a week, for anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours per session.

A bronze medal winner in the 62kg (135 lbs) one year ago at junior nationals, Asselin is at the point now, pre-competition, where he mixes in a constant awareness of the bracket in which he will be lifting with his daily routine.

"I start watching my weight closely two to three weeks before," he said, acknowledging that he seldom ever sways all that far away from the healthy diet which is part and parcel of his lifestyle. "The week before, I will start dieting pretty hard, eating three meals a day, but nothing after supper. A couple of days before, it's a strict diet, eating only certain things." 

The night before weigh-in, there is always the option of reverting to simply chewing gum and spitting out saliva, a method which can easily (and perhaps surprisingly) remove a couple of excess pounds in the final stages.

With that out of the way, it's off to the competition, the environment in which Asselin has truly prospered over the years. 

"I'm super, super calm before a competition, nothing fazes me," he said. "Then, once I start doing warm-ups with the bar, I flick the switch and everything goes well."

While the top-end of the talent pool from his 2017 weight class offers a little turnover, the chase group behind him has grown. 

"There are more guys, this year, coming after me," said Asselin.

Thankfully, he's more than ready to face that test head on.