In the last few weeks, while Yukoners were celebrating the local cyclist and swimmer making Canada’s Commonwealth Games team, there was a third from the territory on her way to represent the nation in India.
Weightlifter Emily Quarton, 26, qualified for the Commonwealth Games team in May at the Canadian Senior Championships in St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, taking first in the 58-kilogram class.
“I’m ranked fourth on the team and there’s seven girls going, so I’m kind of in the middle,” said Quarton. “So I just had to go do a solid competition and (making the team) was my goal. The competition wasn’t my best, but it was enough to make the team.
“I would have been really disappointed if I hadn’t made the team because I was expected to.”
It will be the Whitehorse native’s second trip to the Commonwealth Games, which are taking place October 3-14 in Delhi, India. She also competed at the 2006 Games in Melbourne, Australia, winning silver in the 58-kilogram class.
At the nationals in May, Quarton also qualified for the World Weightlifting Championships taking place later this month in Antalya, Turkey.
Quarton, who is in her last year of an early childhood education program at Concordia University in Montreal, actually won the nationals without matching her personal bests of 90-kilograms in the snatch and 108-kilograms in the clean and jerk, benchmarks she set in 2008 while trying to make Canada’s Olympic team, for which she was an alternate.
“I placed first in my weight-class, but it wasn’t my best competition in my life,” said Quarton. “But I did enough to make the team and I was satisfied with that result, it was the actual lifts of the bar – I would have liked a few more kilos. But that’s almost always the case.”
Hoping to close out her career on a high-note, Quarton is considering retiring from competition after next month’s Games. She’s been weightlifting for a decade.
“I’ve come to the point where I have other things in my life that I’d like to spend more time doing,” said Quarton. “I love weightlifting and I’ve had so many amazing experiences. I feel like I’ve made lots of sacrifices – and I’ve never regretted any of them – but I’m at the point where I want to try new things.
“The Commonwealth Games in 2006 was the highlight of my career and so I feel, going to India, this would be such a great place to finish and say goodbye to an amazing 10 years in sport.”
Although possibly leaving the competitive side of the sport, she intends to stay involved, helping the next generation of weightlifters reach their goals.
“I can see myself coaching and being involved in the sport for a long time, just not necessarily at the place I am now,” said Quarton.
If Quarton does decide to close the books on her competitive career, it won’t be without a lengthy list of achievements.
Last November at the 2009 World Weightlifting Championships in Seoul, Korea, Quarton lifted her way to an 11th-place finish in the women’s 58-kilogram weight class.
She also earned a spot on the Canadian team by winning gold at the 2009 Canadian Weightlifting Championships.
In December of 2008, Quarton took gold in the North American Open and won Best Female Lifter, given out to the best overall – not just from each weight class. She also won gold at the Canadian Weightlifting Championships in 2008, qualifying her to be first-alternate for the Canadian Olympic team.
Surprisingly, Quarton’s huge year in 2008 came after missing most of 2007 with a back injury – not to say she didn’t have achievements before 2007.
Aside from winning silver at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, with a combined lift of 178 kilograms, she was awarded Best Female Lifter honours at the Quebec Senior Championships in Montreal.
Before making the transition into the adult class, Quarton was also a force to be reckoned with on the junior circuit, winning gold medals for her weight class at the Junior Canadian Weightlifting Championships in both 2001 and 2002.
Also representing Canada – and, by extension, the Yukon – at the Commonwealth Games is swimmer Mackenzie Downing, currently studying at the University of Victoria, and cyclist Zach Bell. Racing at the 2010 Track Cycling Canadian Championships two weeks ago in Bromont, Quebec, Bell established himself as Canada’s premier track cyclist, dominating the field with four gold medals.
Contact Tom Patrick at