280 athletes attend Pan American weightlifting championship held in Miami

MIAMI (WSVN) - For the first time, Miami is the host to the Pan American Weightlifting championship.

Coming from 23 countries, about 280 athletes are participating in the event.

“Some people, they can’t really comprehend just the feats of strength that are happening,” said lifter Colon Burns. “For some of the lighter people putting up the big numbers, it’s really impressive.”

However, this event is just the first step in hosting bigger international events in South Florida.

“We wanted to host this. It shows we’re active within the Pan American region,” said Phil Andrews, the CEO of USA Weightlifting. “We want to have the home field advantage. We want to showcase it to the people of Miami. We want people from Miami to come down and watch and enjoy. Certainly it helps when it comes to the U.S. looking for Pan Am games.”

Recruitment is also big in the US. Lifters hope to show people that this is a sport that can even get you to the Olympic games.

“It’s kind of a cool sport because you can do it with other sports,” said lifter Mattie Rogers. “It’s not like gymnastics or something where you have to be strictly this, so you can come and take athletes when they’re young from other sports and kind of let them grow in both sports and see which one they lift later on.”

International companies like Eleiko are supporting the sport by providing free training camps targeting the next generation.

“We’re really looking at how can we work with kids, how can we work with youth, how can we give them opportunities they might not really have from the beginning,” said Rickard Blomberg of Eleiko Sports.

In December, Anaheim will host the World Championships. It’s the second time in last three years they are being held in the U.S.

Miami could be a future location based on hosting the Pan American Weightlifting Championships.

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