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UPRRP Weightlifting: Champions After Battle

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPR chapter.

As the semester started in August, we were talking about how the pandemic or COVID-19 affected people’s physical and mental health due to mandatory lockdowns. If we talk about sports, gyms were closed and college athletic departments had to stop training athletes inside the campuses. Having to stop the practice meets made it more difficult for athletes since some of their sports required equipment that they didn’t have at home or couldn’t find anywhere else. 

The weightlifting team of the Rio Piedras Campus of the University of Puerto Rico (UPRRP) had a hard time finding a place to train. Most of the athletes took time off for about one year since they didn’t have any accessible facilities where they could practice and develop their skills. Others had only some equipment, like weight plates or dumbbells, and two or three had it all at their home or other local gyms. They couldn’t do much, considering that the pandemic affected other significant aspects of the Island such as its economy. Thus, not everyone could afford a gym or buy equipment for self-use. 

The team has to train every day of the week, all year, preparing themselves for only one day, the major event between college weightlifting in Puerto Rico: the Intra University Athletic League (LAI, in Spanish). The team had the opportunity to go back to their campus gym in summer, one year into the pandemic. They started training following the preventive measures for COVID-19. Sadly, by this time the uncertainty on if the LAI was going to take place or not was big after they were already training for two or three months. 

About one month ago it was confirmed, the LAI’S Governing Board reviewed all the options possible and stated that the Weightlifting’s LAI was going to take place on November 16 through 18 at the Department of Recreation and Sports (DRD) in San Juan. The place was also unsure since there was a probability of it being in the UPR Mayaguez Campus first. 

It was a hard time for the team since they had a much harder preparation without knowing if they were actually going to compete. But they were ready; coach Rubén Olmedo was sure they were destined to become the next champions. 

And three days later, there you have itーUPRRP weightlifting became your 2021 LAI duo champions because both the girls’ team and boys’ teams won. Also, all the categories received multiple bronze, silver and gold medals. In weightlifting, girls and boys compete separately and each one has multiple weight class categories for the individuals. Nevertheless, the points that athletes recollect will be the sum for them to win in teams. This means that if they became champions they did exceptional work in all the categories and received a lot of points and medals. Here’s some recognition for the next UPRRP weightlifting student-athletes that received medals at the LAI. Thanks to them and their performance, their team took two trophies home.  

  1. Isaac Gómez- Gold medalist (56kg weight class)
  2. Yarelis Algarín- Gold medalist (53 weight class)
  3. Sebastián Meléndez- Silver medalist (62kg weight class)
  4. Alanis De Jesús- Gold and silver medalist (58kg weight class)
  5. Patricia Roa- Silver and bronze medalist (58kg weight class)
  6. Giam Bosques- Silver and bronze medalist (69kg weight class)
  7. Itzel Rivera- Gold medalist (63kg weight class)
  8. Génesis Medina- Silver medalist (69kg weight class)
  9. Addys Gómez- Gold and bronze medalist (75kg weight class)
  10. Andrea Toledo- Gold, silver, and bronze (75kg weight class)
  11. Carlos Vélez- Silver medalist (77kg weight class)
  12. Diego Marcial- Gold medalist (94kg weight class)
  13. Ramcis Jiménez- Gold medalist (105kg weight class) 

All those medals ﹘almost each one at the competition﹘ were taken by the amazing (as we say) gallitos and jerezanas! We cannot forget the exceptional work and effort each of them pitched in to achieve such incredible successes. Go check out their IG page @lagallera_weightlifting to get to know the athletes and amazing team bonding. And last but not least, congratulations! Thanks for representing “La IUPI” in such a beautiful and memorable way.

Itzel Rivera is an undergraduate student at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. She's studying Information & Journalism with the purpose of providing people the knowledge they need to educate themselves. Itzel aspires to execute her profession, values and principles in a way that it impacts society. Also, she loves lifting weights, studying and doing anything that will get her closer to her dreams!