After winning the Canadian championship, Corissa Sivorot training hard to top her personal best at the world chammpionships in Seoul, South Korea. (Gazette file photo)

Kettlebell athlete brings home gold from world event

Women centre stage at event in Seoul

Corissa Sivorot isn’t surprised there are still many people who have no idea what the sport of kettlebell lifting involves and who might be taken aback at the exploding popularity of the sport.

But the Metchosin resident, who recently returned from the Word Kettlebell Sport Championships in Seoul, South Korea with a gold medal, is confident the sport will continue to grow and is anxious to continue to represent Canada in future competitions.

She is also intent on passing along her knowledge of the sport to others, confident of the benefits that kettlebell lifting offers, not only in developing strength but its cardiovascular and general fitness benefits as well.

RELATED: World championships in Seoul on Langford lifter’s horizon

The brightly coloured kettlebells (each colour represents an different weight) look, for all intents and purposes, like cannonballs with handles.

They range in weight from about five kilograms to 60 kg or more for training purposes, but in competition, while competitors can still select their own weights, athletes most commonly compete with weights in the range of about 32 kg for men and 24 kg for women. Competitors are ranked based on the weight they lift, their body weight category and the specific lift they perform, such as a snatch, jerk or long cycle.

Sivorot’s training partner, Sarah Hunter, explained that the original kettlebells were probably developed in ancient Greece.

“They’ve been around for a really long time and we’ve just rediscovered them in North America. And women like Corissa are showing the world what women can do,” said Hunter.

And, although the sport of kettlebell lifting is a relative newcomer to North America, it has been around in Russia and other parts of Europe for more than 70 years.

The modern incarnation of the sport really began in 1988 at the first international competition and women weren’t allowed into international competition until the dawn of the 21st century. Since then, they have consistently shown that they are just as capable and competitive as the men.

Sivorot first competed in the world competition in Ireland in 2015 where she placed eighth and, this July, she won best in her weight and class, at the Canadian National Championship in Saskatchewan.

“It was really thrilling to compete in Seoul. We were in the Olympic handball stadium with more than 400 competitors from around the world. And the crowds really took interest in the women’s double kettlebell lift since it’s the first time the women have competed in that event. It was amazing, really, with lights and music,” said a beaming Sivorot.

But she’s not one to rest on her laurels. Sivorot continues to train with Hunter and the two (along with six others from the West Shore Kettlebell Club) intend to go to the next big competition in California in February for the World Federation of Kettlebell Sport Clubs competition. It’s another chance to show off the amazing strength and fitness level she’s developed as a kettlebell athlete.

Sivorot is a co-owner of the Westshore Warehouse, a private fitness facility in Langford, where she offers personal training and fitness classes.

“We offer all kinds of fitness instruction here, and certainly don’t just concentrate on kettlebell training. But I can say that I’ve tried all kinds of fitness and sport activities but it’s been kettlebell sport that’s really given me the excitement and challenge I was looking for,” she said. “It’s a great workout and a great sport, and I’m proud to represent Canada to the world in these competitions.”

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