Special Olympian excited for opportunity across the pond

Aaron Higgins has twice represented his home province of Saskatchewan at the Special Olympics Canada Summer Games.

In 2014 it was basketball, while in 2018 it was weightlifting.

But in 2023, Higgins will don the colours of Team Canada as he has cracked the squad for the 2023 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Berlin, Germany.

Higgins, who has Down syndrome, is one of only 89 athletes selected for Team Canada, and one of only eight powerlifters.

In a happy coincidence, Germany happens to be where Higgins’ grandparents, on his mother’s side, are from, so he is excited to see a country with family ties.

“It’s where my grandma and grandpa are from,” said Higgins. “I feel it’s good, and really awesome, rock on!”

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Higgins is also excited to travel to Toronto, another place he has yet to visit, to attend training camps for Team Canada.

The powerlifter’s workouts take place at Trench Fitness in Regina and Higgins is personally trained by Tanner Kyle, an employee of the gym.

Higgins is known for cracking jokes and making people laugh with his comedic personality but when it comes time to train, he is all business.

“Everybody definitely knows him for his personality, and obviously know how strong he is as well,” Kyle said. “But it’s amazing how he puts two and two together, and is still extremely focused when he comes in and he does what you want him to do.”

Higgins has progressed in his strength as he has continued to train in the powerlifting disciplines of squats, bench press and deadlifts.

At his first competition in 2014, Higgins squatted 138 pounds, benched 132 pounds and deadlifted 176 pounds.

Fast forward four years where he improved his lifts to a 385-pound squat, 259-pound bench and 364-pound deadlift, and he hopes to continue to improve those numbers on the world stage.

Higgins knows that none of this would be possible without some help along the way so he made sure to thank those who have aided him in his journey.

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“I’m going to say thank you to Trench Fitness, and owner Neil Tkatchuk. My dad, you’re the best dad ever, I love him. Tanner Kyle, Tanner’s done a good job coaching me,” said Higgins.

The World Summer Games take place July 17 to 25, 2023.

&© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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