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12 July 2013 | in Weightlifting, Summer Universiade

Resourceful Rachel

Rachel Siemens in action

KAZAN - Attending a Universiade can be hard on an athlete’s back pockets, especially for those travelling the longer distances to attend the event.

Flights, accommodation, food and other miscellaneous things add up to around $5,000 - $7,000 for most athletes, for some even more.

Internet-savvy Rachel Siemens, a Canadian weightlifter, started an online fundraising campaign leading up to the event, which paid for her entire trip.

“Most of the money actually came from the CrossFit community, which is really cool because I left them and they’re supporting me,” says Siemens, who moved over fully to weightlifting a year ago after getting into it through ‘CrossFit’, a popular strength and conditioning program.

“It’s the first time B.C. (British Colombia, a Canadian province) has given me anything which is really cool.”

Siemens said the sport is more popular and gets more funding in other Canadian provinces. 

She hopes her weightlifting blog she started will raise the profile of the sport for women.

“I just write as much as I can about weightlifting or kinesiology, and just try and put out quality information, and also make people laugh.”

Siemens says the fitness style ‘CrossFit’ is helping young women break the barrier into the weightlifting world.

“If weightlifting had more funding we could do a lot more, like train better coaches, support more athletes, and start up grass roots projects.”

Siemens has been lifting now for only two years, and is encouraging all women to try the sport out.

“I’ve always been a gym-junkie, I like lifting heavy, I like the feeling of it - being strong, it’s very powerful, ” said Siemens, who is aiming for the National team next year.

“I think it’s really empowering - it’s really awesome. I think more girls should do it because it feels so good.”

Siemens, who got knocked out of the competition yesterday, says she is staying around for the rest of the Universiade to watch the other groups, and the Olympians.

“It’s my first ever games completely overwhelmed. I don’t know what I was expecting, but this is surreal and awesome.”

Leigh Ferguson/FISU Young Reporter (AUS)