By Shirley Shuman
Twelve-year-old Dezel Hyre began training for weightlifting approximately one year ago. This upcoming weekend, he will lift in a national competition to be held in Las Vegas. Hyre, the son of Theran and Kirk Hyre, recently qualified in the 13-and-under age group.
This athlete has worked under the training of Dr. Kim Fairley, a surgeon at United Hospital Center. Dr. Fairley, a weightlifter herself, explained how she came to train youth weightlifters. “Youngsters in our community in general,” she said, “don’t have physical activity or eat well. I’m very concerned because the community we live in is underserved and these children could lose the opportunity to grow up into mentally, physically, and spiritually healthy adults.” Thus came Dr. Fairley’s project.
Using Emmanuel Church and School as her base, she invited youngsters and any interested parents, to join the weightlifting group. They practice three times a week: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
Very enthusiastic about the entire program, Hyre told how he became involved. “My mom works with Dr. Fairley,” he said, “and she asked Mom if I might be interested. I knew it would be a challenge because I wasn’t in any sport, and I am onehanded.” Nonetheless, he “enjoyed it from the start.” The young weightlifter explained the way he sees his coach’s methods. “We concentrate on technique because strength is not as important as technique.”
“A little nervous,” his first efforts did not go very well, he noted. Here he reiterated that he still hadn’t learned the importance of technique. As he continued to practice and learned the proper technique, he became confident, and on April 2, 2022, he qualified for the national competition.
Hyre explained the procedure for the competitions. “First, we have to weigh in to determine how much we have to lift. The requirement is half of our body weight. Because I’m adapted, I have to lift only half of that amount,” he said.
To qualify for nationals, lifters must reach a certain total based on age and weight. Dr. Fairley explained, “It doesn’t matter if you hit it at one competition or at several. Lifters have three opportunities to complete each of two moves—snatch and clean-and-jerk.
Dezel Hyre is eager for Saturday’s competition, and he feels confident about his chances. His coach, Dr. Fairley, did note that his task of lifting and balancing the barbells with one arm is much more difficult than with two. This young man is ready for that challenge.