YOUNG GUNS WEIGHTLIFTING CLUB – STARTED BY YOUTH FOR YOUTH

Some of the most significant limitations youth face regarding weightlifting are safety, inexperience, and a lack of financial resources. Pavi Toor and his two teenage sons, Jaiden and Pravin Toor, started Young Guns Weightlifting Club in 2019 when they saw the need for youth to have a safe place to work out at no cost and get results. They recognized that most youths were not comfortable lifting weights in an adult gym environment. Also, there were several social, economic, and psychological barriers to boys, especially girls joining the sport. With this in mind, they set about making their vision a reality. They found rental space, hired certified trainers, created a social media presence, and established a brand.

This past springYoung Guns WC team members Louis Latour (Mission), Mohit Parmar (Vancouver), and Ryan traveled to St. Johns, Newfoundland, and finished 4th and 6th in the 105kg weight class at the 2022 Canadian Powerlifting Championships.

They wanted to make fitness accessible for all youth and provide a fun group environment focused on proper technique. Young Guns WC trains four times a week and has certified trainers who coach up to 12 youth per session. They teach weightlifting to improve athletic performance (The Fitness Lab), Boxing/Muay Thai (MambaMMA), and Powerlifting (Iron Throne). Being coached by certified trainers is vital, as it could take many months to learn proper techniques for compound exercises such as front squats and deadlifts (many variations). It could also take many months for someone to learn boxing basics and how to throw a proper punch without injuring their wrists. Bailey Dhaliwal, Weightlifting & Mobility Coach, Kultar Gill, World Kickboxing Champion and Coach—make sure to push the youth with a focus on technique. Young Guns WC reserves the entire gym, so the youth feel safe and do not have to wait around for equipment while doing circuit training. They teach weightlifting to improve athletic performance (The Fitness Lab), Boxing/Muay Thai (MambaMMA), and Powerlifting (Iron Throne).

The programs have been achieving outstanding results. Last November, Garuav Dhanoa, an Enver Creek Secondary student, was in Victoria for the Kabuki Strength Van Isle meet. In the Junior Male weight class of 67.5KG, he squatted 315 lbs., bench-pressed 228, and deadlifted 425, for a total of 968 lbs. Gaurav, 16 at the time, set the national record in all four categories. Ryan Maclellan is coaching him. Also, the Surrey, BC resident recently finished 6th in the world at the Bench Press World Championships held in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The future looks very bright for Gaurav!

Covid-19 restrictions have ended typical fundraising activities for the past couple of years. Young Guns WC was able to fund itself through club merchandise sales, high protein donuts, and securing community grants. With restrictions on large gatherings easing earlier this year, the club held their Bollywood Boom Fundraising Gala in April, where they raised $39,700.

For those unfamiliar with powerlifting, a lifter gets three attempts each for squat, bench press, and deadlift. The goal is to lift the maximum amount of weight for one repetition. Three referees ensure each lifter uses the proper form and lifting technique for the lift to qualify. All athletes are drug tested at competitions.

This past spring, Young Guns WC team members Louis Latour (Mission), Mohit Parmar (Vancouver), and Ryan traveled to St. Johns, Newfoundland, and finished 4th and 6th in the 105kg weight class at the 2022 Canadian Powerlifting Championships. Louis set an all-time personal record squatting 529 lbs., bench pressed 363 lbs, and deadlifted 600 lbs. Mohit also set a personal record squatting 518 lbs., benched 314 lbs, and deadlifted 540 lbs. It was Louis’ and Mohit’s only second competition. Young Guns Powerlifting Coach Ryan won his fourth national gold medal in the bench press. Last year, Mohit and Louis placed 2nd and 3rd at the Western Canadian Powerlifting Championships. Mohit and Louis’ rivalry is something to watch at powerlifting competitions. Impressive what the club has accomplished in such a short time.

The Globe and Mail featured Young Guns WC, which won their program’s 2021 Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards for Innovative Initiative (Small Organization). Recently, a Community Service Award (Under age 25) has recognized Young Guns by the City of Mission.

Covid-19 restrictions have ended typical fundraising activities for the past couple of years. Young Guns WC was able to fund itself through club merchandise sales, high protein donuts, and securing community grants. With restrictions on large gatherings easing earlier this year, the club held their Bollywood Boom Fundraising Gala in April, where they raised $39,700. Over 300 guests attended the Bombay Banquet Hall in Surrey, BC, and 100% of the event’s proceeds went straight to the club.

Jaiden and Pravin dedicate countless hours each week to the club’s success, are the driving force behind its successful social media presence, and have become advocates for youth and youth in sport.

Keeping youth engaged and active is an issue in our communities. In creating an environment where it is safe, from both an emotional and a physical injury perspective, to lift weights and throw a punch, Young Guns Weightlifting Club is teaching young people how to be strong, confident, disciplined, and proud of who they are.

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