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Pembroke athlete wins silver at world kettlebell championship

By Celina Ip

Heather Kilius competing in the Amateur Snatch event at the 2017 World Championship of Kettlebell Lifting in Seoul, South Korea.

Heather Kilius competing in the Amateur Snatch event at the 2017 World Championship of Kettlebell Lifting in Seoul, South Korea.

A Pembroke woman has joined the ranks of the best in the world in kettlebell, winning two silvers at the 2017 World Championship of Kettlebell Lifting.


Taking place in Seoul, South Korea from Nov. 15 to 19, the World Championship welcomed elite kettlebell athletes from 33 countries.

Among the 15 members on Team Canada – its largest team to date – was Pembroke’s Heather Kilius.

An avid cross-fit athlete for the past six years, it was three years ago that 31-year-old Kilius was introduced to kettlebell by her crossfit coach Eric Doucette.

After becoming acquainted with the new sport, it was one year ago the Kilius became serious about the sport about kettlebell lifting and began training for competitions.

By 2016, Kilius’ newfound athletic passion had given her the chance to travel to Victoria, B.C. and San Francisco to show off her skills and meet other athletes and coaches from around North America.

It was at that national competition in Victoria that Team Foundry coach Misty Shearer invited Kilius to join team, after being impressed by Kilius’ passion and skills.

“Eric Doucette was my coach in Pembroke who introduced me to kettlebell, got me going and brought me to that level of nationals. Then after I competed in Victoria in 2016, it was there that I met the coach who I have now,” said Kilius.

One year after training with Team Foundry, Kilius went off to the Canadian Kettlebell National Championship in Moose Jaw this past July where she achieved gold in both ‘Professional Ladies One Arm Long Cycle’ and ‘Amateur Snatch’.

Having achieved two first-place finishes at the national competition, the Pembroke athlete qualified to compete World Championship of Kettlebell Lifting in South Korea this November, where she competed against high calibre athletes from around the world.

During the events, Kilius was allowed to change hands once during the competition, and she was judged on the number of reps completed, as well as execution.

The Professional One Arm Long Cycle event saw Kilius lift a 24-kilo kettlebell 67 times in 10 minutes while she lifted a 16-kilo kettlebell 181 times for the Amateur Snatch event.

“Each event is essentially a 10-minute set and you can only switch hands once and you can’t put down the kettlebell until those 10 minutes are up,” Kilius. “10 minutes sometimes doesn’t seem like a long time but when you’re doing the same thing over and over it's a long time.”

By the end of the competition, Kilius won a silver medal in the ‘Amateur Snatch’ category and another silver in the ‘Professional Ladies One Arm Long Cycle’ category.

Team Canada placed seventh of the 33 countries, with its 15 athletes acquiring 19 medals in total.

Now heading into her fourth year as a professional kettlebell athlete and looking forward to competing in many more tournaments in the future, Kilius said that what she loves most about the sport is that it’s versatile and challenging.

“I just love the challenge because it's really challenging physically but also mentally,” said Kilius. “I also love the competition because seeing everyone out there doing their best is really inspiring and it motivates me to work even harder.” 

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