Carter Balaberda’s dream of competing in powerlifting against people his own size is finally about to turn into a reality. He is headed to the 2013 World Dwarf Games in Michigan to compete in powerlifting and much more on August 3-10.
“It’s really exciting,” said Balaberda. “I’ve wanted to do this for a long time. I’m really excited to finally get the opportunity to compete against other dwarfs.”
Canada essentially wouldn’t even being going to the games if it wasn’t for Balaberda. His mother, Irma Van De Bon-Nicol who is the president of the Dwarf Athletic Association of Canada (DAAC), was inspired by Balaberda’s work ethic and wanted to give him the opportunity to compete against other dwarfs. So she started to build the DAAC in preparation for the 2013 World Dwarf Games.
“Carter does powerlifting and he works so hard at it that I wanted to do what I could to give him a chance to compete against the other top dwarfs in the world,” said Van De Bon-Nicol in an April interview. “About five or six years ago, he was taking part in one of the Dwarf Athletic Association of America’s mini camps, and at that time I told him I would try to do what I could to get Canada to the Dwarf World Games.”
Balaberda, 21, has, however, competed in powerlifting competitions against average-size people. He has competed at world’s events in powerlifting competitions since he was 14 years old.
“I started competing in worldwide competitions at 14 and really got involved at 17,” said Balaberda, who went to school on Melville and Esterhazy. “At 15, I won silver in a bench competition. My best bench at an event was 315 pounds.”
Balaberda’s older brother, Steven Halladay, who owns a powerlifting gym in Regina, originally introduced him to weightlifting and helped mentor him along the way to his success.
“My brother use to babysit me when I was younger and he would take me to the gym and that’s how I got introduced to lifting,” said Balaberda. “One day he was just showing me around the gym before it even opened and he wanted to see how much I could lift. I lifted 150 pounds and I was just 14 years old. So after that he started talking to me about lifting competitions and he helped me get into it.”
Balaberda started to really latch onto powerliftng when he started to find it tough to keep up in hockey with other kids hitting their growth spurts.
“When I was about 14 years old, I started falling behind a bit in hockey,” he said. “I was still competing, but it was getting hard around that age. So around that time is when I started to really get involved in powerlifting.”
Since Balaberda will be competing in more events than just powerlifting, such as volleyball and bocce ball, he has spent more time than usual focusing on cardio in his preparation for the games.
“I knew I had to work on cardio for the games,” he said. “I’ve worked a lot on my cardio for the running around for the other sports. We don’t have that many people going from Canada, so I’m going to have to compete in a lot of competitions.”
Heading to Michigan is a lot more than just competition to Balaberda. He is eager to meet people his own size that have had to overcome the same adversities as he has.
“It will be really nice to meet new people,” he said. “It’s good to put yourself in situations where you have to overcome stuff and you might stick out, but it’s also good to fit in sometimes. I haven’t been to anything like this, so it will be a good experience.”