For fourth grader Damiyah Smith, fitness runs in the family. At four years old she was already lifting weights. “She’s the type she wants to do everything we do. So she was like, ‘I want to lift too.’ So we just started out just letting her do push-ups, pull-ups, she starts walking on her hands,” says her dad Jason Smith.
Damiyah powerlifts with her dad coaching her four times a week.”It really increases our bonding time. Cause we’re always doing it in the morning and then afterwards. It’s just really fun,” Damiyah says. “Truly I just tell her to keep going for that next level and we try to be as safe as we can to keep her from getting hurt and I tell her the weight will come. As long as you’re doing the effort the weight will come. And she puts a hundred percent in everything she does,” her dad says. The nine-year-old just got back from the Junior Olympics where she broke records in all three events in her age and 70 lb weight category, beating out the last overall winner by 40 lbs. She can squat a 100 lbs, she can bench 55 lbs and she can deadlift a 135.
So she actually lifts more than people my age,” says her mom Kristenee. Her parents say Damiyah is like Commerce’s the next Doug Furnas in the making. They hope her record setting victories will help to inspire other young athletes to take up the sport.” “What we want to do is get in about 10-20 kids and get them prepared for a couple meets that our local and then once they do well there than maybe we can take them to a national level and a worlds level,” her mother says. Not only is it a family affair, but the solo sport helps to teach young Damiyah discipline and boost her self-confidence. “You’re versus-ing yourself. It makes you want to get more heavier weights, just makes you feel really good,” Damiyah says. Smith will compete in the “AAU World Championships” on the 25th in Las Vegas. She says she one day hopes to pursue powerlifting, professionally.