Vegan powerlifter Sahyuri Lalime has taken home the Belgian national title for the fourth year in a row.
The athlete competed at the 2021 Belgian Championships, the country’s annual championship for the Vlaamse Gewichtheffers en Powerlifting Federatie (VGPF), aka Flemish Weightlifters and Powerlifting Federation, as well as the Ligue Francophone des Poids & Haltères (LFPH), aka the French League of Weights and Barbells.
At the Belgian championships, Lalime competed in the classic (raw) division, in the 63kg category.
The plant-powered athlete won best overall female lifter, lifting a total of 412.5kgs: 152.5kg squat, 80kg bench, and 180kg deadlift.
‘Extremely proud to be a vegan powerlifter’
Lalime spoke to Plant Based News about the victory.
“This win was really welcome after a rough training year and a disappointing performance at IPF Worlds,” she explained, referring to the International Powerlifting Federation’s (IPF) World Championships, which she competed in this year and in 2019. “I struggled with feelings of frustration, doubt, despair… it would have been so easy to give up
“But when you fall down reaching for something that matters, you have to do everything in your power to get back up and try again. Someday, whatever you’ve been working for will be back within your reach, if only you are there to take it.”
If all goes to plan, she will compete at Worlds and the European Powerlifting Federation’s (EPF) championships again in 2022.
Lalime has been vegetarian for nearly 20 years, and vegan since 2015.
Elaborating on her journey to plant-based living, the powerlifter said: “I found veganism through punk rock and love for animals. I’ve always believed that going against the grain and sticking to your ideals requires extreme mental fortitude and resilience.
“The mental strength that sustains my commitment to veganism has also helped me in forging the physical strength required to compete at the highest level in powerlifting. I’m extremely proud to be a vegan powerlifter. Everyday I am saving lives – and, hopefully, inspiring others to save lives, too – by proving that you don’t need any animal products to be STRONG AF.”