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Yellowknife

YK woman takes home powerlifting titles, breaks records in Alberta

Last modified: February 15, 2022 at 6:25pm


Sousanh Chanthalangsy-Bornilla, owner of the One of a Thai food truck in Yellowknife, took home several titles and broke two records at a powerlifting competition in Alberta last weekend. 

Chanthalangsy-Bornilla said she “fell in love” with powerlifting a few years ago.

After a successful first competition in February 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic forced her to put competition plans aside and focus on training. Two years later, the hard work is paying off and the titles are piling up. 

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“I just came into it like, ‘oh, I just competed three weeks ago, let’s see how my numbers will be going into this [competition],” she said.

“And then, next thing you know, I just pretty much just destroyed it.”

This past Saturday, days away from her 40th birthday, Chanthalangsy-Bornilla managed to squat 440 pounds — a weight that she later learned broke a Master 1 Class squat provincial record and an unofficial national Master 1 Class squat record. 

Over the course of the same day, Chanthalangsy-Bornilla also successfully bench pressed 231 pounds, and completed a 452-pound deadlift. 

Those successful lifts won her the gold in the Master 1 division, broke the Master 1 overall provincial total record, and garnered her the titles of Best Female in a Master Class and Overall Best Female Lifter.

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Chanthalangsy-Bornilla has now won the title of Overall Best Female Lifter in three separate competitions across three provinces — Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. 

“I actually got myself trained up to the point where I’m actually beating records,” she said. “Which I didn’t even think was going to be happening, but I did it!”

While she likes to set goals, ​​Chanthalangsy-Bornilla said she doesn’t put too much emphasis on winning. 

“I always tell myself if I don’t win, at least I did it. So it’s not a lot of pressure.”

Sousanh Chanthalangsy-Bornilla broke a Master 1 squat provincial record on Saturday in Alberta. Photo: Billy Refugia

Chanthalangsy-Bornilla previously told Cabin Radio about her passion for lifting after attending a Strongman/Strongwoman competition in 2018. 

While she plans to continue competing in some Strongman events, the necessary training equipment can be hard to come by in the North. For now, she said she’ll stick to powerlifting. 

Chanthalangsy-Bornilla said the sport offers her “great satisfaction.”

“When people see myself lift, a lot of people will look and just be like, ‘wow.’”

Getting more women into the sport is something she is especially passionate about. She has already inspired both her cousin and her mother to start lifting. 

“My mom, who just turned 66, she’s getting into lifting as well,” she said. “Before, she did not go to the gym at all. She actually didn’t want me lifting heavy. And then once she saw what I was doing, she was like, ‘I want to learn!’”

“That just makes me just love the sport even more, just getting more women and people involved.”

Chanthalangsy-Bornilla said sharing her recent wins on social media has led to many other women reaching out about starting their own competitive powerlifting journeys.

Chanthalangsy-Bornilla said she and her husband, who both work at Anytime Fitness, want to get a group of women in Yellowknife to start competing in powerlifting events down south. 

“I kind of want to do a program like that up here, and just kind of introduce people to powerlifting and lifting weights, and things like that,” she said. 

“And it’s not just for, you know, men and stuff, but it’s for all ages, all sizes. Anything. So that’s kind of what I want to do in the near future.”

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