Over the weekend, a Paralympic athlete born and raised in Grande Prairie was vying for his spot at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Dylan Sparks is currently in Kazakhstan for the World Para Powerlifting Championships.
Sparks has been competing internationally for the last four years but unfortunately wasn’t able to move on this time.
“In powerlifting, you get three attempts and you pick your starting weight and you’re allowed to increase your weight whether or not you fail or get your lifts. I missed my first lift and chose to try it again for the next two attempts. For this competition, I was not able to get the weight.”
The now Edmonton based athlete was born with Spina Bifida and uses a wheelchair. At his last competition in Columbia, he won a gold and silver medal in the junior category for Canada. He is also ranked 4th in the Americas and 5th overall in the senior men’s division.
Despite believing he may not make it to Tokyo with this performance he says he plans to keep working and aim for 2024.
“I will put my focus towards the 2024 Paralympics in Paris and hope to increase my strength over the next couple of years and increase my ranking to potentially put me in a top ten position which then allows me a spot on the Paralympic team and allows me to go to Paris.”
Sparks was also a flag bearer for Team Canada at the opening ceremonies. One other Canadian is also at the competition. North Bay, Ontario’s Jake Beaton will compete on Monday.