The following article was written by John Bohane of the West Cork News. It is something I immediately wanted to share with you all, as it truly captures Janine’s amazing achievements over the last 6 months or so.
Sometimes I forget myself how far Janine has come, and just how remarkable the feats she has achieved are. Reading this article from John, really made everything sink in and has given me even more motivation to continue to push and progress with Janine and to win the World Title later this year…. It even feels amazing saying / writing that. It will be Janine’s and my own 3rd of possible 4th competition together (depending on how we plan out the rest of this calendar year) and she will have risen from a “First Timer” to a World Champion in less than 1 year! Inspirational!
Take it away John…….

Three time Irish Drug Free Powerlifting Association single lift champion Janine Urquhart is delighted with her rapid progress on the powerlifting circuit considering the Innishannon native only participated in her first competitive event in January earlier this year. The Cork heroine, recently set a new national record lifting 110kg at 47kg body weight, which enabled her to qualify for the World Championships which will be held in November.

Janine, who attended both primary and secondary school in Bandon, recalls with great glee the frantic nature of the past few months which has propelled her the cusp of greater glory. “I am still on a high from the last few months. January was my first ever powerlifting competition so it really was a huge success for me. I went into the competition totally raw, just to see how I would fare out. I wasn’t sure if it was something I would commit to, or even enjoy. I borrowed a singlet at the last minute, wore my regular Nike runners, had no belt, straps or any other equipment. We knew what lifts and weights we were aiming to hit and it was only when we were competing did we realise that we’d be breaking and setting records. I was absolutely delighted with the victories and blown away at the level of success I had achieved from the first competition. It was an unforgettable experience. The feeling of getting those lifts is euphoric, that sense of achievement when you know you have reached and achieved your goals. The support there from all the other competitors is amazing. No matter who is on the platform or what weights they are lifting everyone is there cheering them on. I am very proud of what I have done and so are my family, I have the definition of a very proud mammy at home, she is spreading the word for me which is great. I really appreciate all the help and support I have received from everyone.”

Janine’s story is incredible. She only took up powerlifting after completing a six week fitness programme in Frankfield last Autumn following recommendations from her coach, Conor Cunningham as she revealed. “I did gymnastics when I was in secondary school and was a member of several gyms at different points in my life but it was only when I started training with Conor did I really sustain it.  I initially started training with Conor on a six-week personal training programme in August last year, just to get fit again. After the six-week programme had finished I was delighted with what we were able to achieve and I wanted to continue with my fitness journey. Conor suggested powerlifting based on the weights I was able to lift relative to my size. So the powerlifting became our next goal and we started training properly with strength in mind around October. I am both delighted and amazed with my progress since then. It has been an incredible journey so far. I have exceeded all my expectations. I hope to continue to progress, improve and develop.”

Janine has to obey a strict fitness programme specifically designed to maintain her strong momentum. The Rebel heroine loves powerlifting which ensures she retains all the motivation required to train so diligently in such a gruelling sport. “My powerlifting training programme usually takes the form of three sessions a week (focusing on squat, bench and deadlift) with Conor and a friend Anne Marie. I also do auxiliary cardio and weight training for up to three classes a week in Coach’s Fitness Centre, Frankfield, and five gym sessions. Some of those are on my own or I train with Anne Marie as well. I am a sponsored athlete with Coach’s Fitness Centre so Conor makes up my tailored training and nutrition plans. It is quite intensive right now but it is necessary to ensure the body is right for forthcoming competitions. Staying motivated can be hard at times but I love what I’m doing so seeing the progress every week and the positive changes in my health and body keeps me going. I also love being around other positive people with similar goals and having supportive family and friends helps keep me on track.”

Janine is thriving in the competitive nature of the sport. She is determined to keep progressing and recording personal bests as she explains. “I am hooked on powerlifting now. I really feel there is more left in the tank, as I lifted heavier in training than in the competition. I left that competition with the desire, determination and drive to go back and do even better next time. I love pushing myself to the limit and seeing myself grow. Getting stronger gives me a sense of empowerment. Hitting personal bests is also a highlight, competing against yourself. I love the anticipation of the next workout. Powerlifting has given me great determination and dedication. It allows me to release energy and stress. It’s my therapy. Me and the bar.”

Janine would highly recommend people experiment with weight training in some shape or form. She is confident people would grow to love the environment as it boasts many advantages. “I would recommend everyone to take up weight training of some sort. It can help lose fat, build muscle and so much more. Many women are scared of the whole weight training idea. They have this vision of getting bulky and looking manly but you can attain any type of body you want. It’s all balanced with good nutrition.”

Janine’s next goal is to become a world champion. Given the competitive nature of this inspirational Cork heroine it would appear inevitable that she will be competing strongly for glory in the World Championships. “The end goal for me this year is to become World Champion.  I am working hard to achieve my goals and ambitions. The strength in the Irish powerlifters at present  is inspirational. I’m still a novice but I intend to give it my best shot and hopefully I can fulfil my dreams.”

By John Bohane
West Cork Times

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