Sarnia’s first family of weightlifting is headed to the Olympics.
Boady Santavy punched his ticket to Tokyo after winning silver at the Pan American senior weightlifting championships last month in the Dominican Republic.
The 23-year-old lifted 181 kilograms in the snatch event to break both the Pan Am and Commonwealth Games records. He also hoisted 208 kg in the clean and jerk for a total of 389 kg, and a personal best in competition in the 96 kg class.
“I was pretty excited,” said Santavy. “It was good to get it on an international stage too because it’s been over a year since I’ve competed.”
Joining Santavy in Japan will be father and coach Dalas Santavy. The former World Championship competitor is a coach with Canada’s weightlifting squad.
Boady Santavy said words couldn’t describe what he felt upon qualifying for the Olympics. His accomplishment follows in the footsteps of grandfather Bob Santavy, who competed at the 1968 and 1976 Games.
“It is a dream come true,” Santavy said. “It’s been something I wanted my whole life and now it’s here. I’m just excited to start training hard for the Olympics now. It’s go-time.”
Boady Santavy won silver at the 2019 Pan American Games, a silver and bronze at the Pan American Championships in 2020 and 2019 respectively, and a silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
He trains full-time at the family’s private gym. Father Dalas said his son’s status as a high-performance athlete allowed him to continue training at gyms in Toronto and Niagara Falls during the pandemic.
“Just to get out of the city… it breaks the monotony up,” said his father. “We can’t leave the country but we can get out of the norm.”
And dad likes his son’s chances.
“He’s a definite medal threat,” Dalas said.
Boady Santavy said his toughest competitors are also his closest friends.
“A lot of them I’ve been competing against since I was a young guy. We see each other all the time,” he said.
“Friends around the world, it’s like a big family,” his father added.
The lifters to beat at the Olympics come from Qatar, Georgia and Columbia, Santavy explained. But he’s unsure how many will arrive in Tokyo given the varying lockdown situations around the world.
Some Canadian weightlifters are also still unconfirmed for Tokyo, Dalas Santavy noted.
Boady Santavy said he’s feeling confident and focused on training.
“I’m in good shape right now, but I’m going to do everything perfect for this lead-up to the Olympics, and I’m going to be on the podium for sure.”
The 2020 Summer Olympics take place July 23 July to Aug. 8.