Since early 2017 The Bar has been informally supporting the work of Lift4Life developing powerlifting in Zimbabwe by fundraising for and sponsoring 2 Zimbabwe lifters to lift at the Arnold Classic. They had to affiliate with the SAPF as at that stage there was no Powerlifting federation in Zimbabwe.
Later in the same year I shared on a personal level in the highs and lows of Nicola Paviglianiti's campaign to get 3 Zim lifters to lift as guest lifters at the Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships and following their tremendous progress since, creating a women's only gym, introducing powerlifting to men, women and children in communities with very limited resources and opportunities, and finally getting the Zimbabwe Powerlifting Federation formally up and running.
This month I am very proud to say that this relationship has been formalised with The Bar signing up as a Lift4Life partner.
Why become a partner and why would I encourage others to become partners
The word 'community' has become all the rage in Powerlifting as it has in many other sports and areas of life. However if you look a bit more closely at this community you will find that it is not as homogeneous as it first appears. Within this community there are many sub-communities defined by gender, location, personalities, likes and dislikes to name but a few. By definition a community therefore excludes as much as it includes.
Lift4Life is also creating a community within the wider 'powerlifting community'. However in my opinion they are creating a very different type of community. Most communities' identity depend on defining differences that exist between people (which definitely has its place, don't get me wrong). The Lift4Life community is also based on differences, i.e. the have's and the have-not's, those with opportunity and those without but their end goal is not to maintain these differences, their end goal is to bridge these differences and to bring us all together on a fundamentally human level. In the end the community built by Lift4Life is held together by our similarities as human beings; by our common desire to improve ourselves and our environment; by our shared emotions of love, fear, hope and despair; by our laughter and tears, whether we are male or female, rich or poor, in America or Africa.
To me the Lift4Life community is a truly inclusive community and this is why I and The Bar Powerlifting Club have chosen to be part of it and why I encourage other gyms, individuals and organisations to also join hands with them. There are no hidden agendas here, no competing to be better than others, just the coming together of human beings through the sport of powerlifting.
If you would like to find out more about the work of Lift4Life please visit their website: http://www.lift4life-worldwide.org/