News: Deployed troops test their strength with 1,000-pound weightlifting competition
By Sgt. Natasha Stoops, 377th Transportation Company
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan---On any normal day the gym at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, would seem rather quiet, with the occasional clanking of weights and soldiers grunting as they push past their limits. However, July 15 the building was filled with the cheering and applause of those watching the 1,000-pound Morale, Welfare and Recreation-sponsored weightlifting competition.
Deployed soldiers with the 87th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, congregated to the fitness facility in support of the competition and its participants. This competition is a test of endurance and fortitude for the soldiers taking part in a three-series set of lifting events consisting of squats, a flat bench press and the dreaded dead lift. The participants must be able to accumulate more than 1,000 pounds using only one repetition for each event.
A handful of spirited contestants from the Fort Bliss, Texas-based 377th Transportation Company eagerly participated. Specialists Alexis Boadilla, Victor Salce and Dennis Morris entered the competition with the highest of aspirations.
“I was confident that I would place in the competition,” said Salce, a native of Mission, Texas, “and, I just wanted to see where I was at (physically).”
After much sweat was shed, the event ended with many Troops revealing a disappointing expression. The 377th soldiers, however, made a distinguished impression.
Salce took first place in his weight class, lifting a total of 820 pounds, with Boadilla on his heels with his sum of 815 pounds. It was Morris, though, who rose above all else to claim this year’s victory, placing 1st in his weight class and winning the overall championship title.
“Without struggle there is no progress,” said Morris, quoting Fredrick Douglass after his win.
“Winning felt great; it was very satisfying,” continued the Atlanta, Ga., native. “I felt that I could have done better (though), but there will be another one.”
For some Soldiers placing in the competition was a suitable goal to continue weight training and maintain top physical condition. Others just wanted to participate simply to gauge their physical fitness strength.
Boadailla, a San Diego, Calif., native, encourages soldiers to set goals and work to achieve them.
“This event should be a motivation for young Soldiers to continue to strive for the best physically,” he said. “It should also show that there is no limit to what you can do when you put your mind to it.”