Jon Maillet For the Journal
Sarnia’s Bradyn Santavy is heading to the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Grand Prix in Qatar this week to represent Canada alongside his dad and brothers.
The 20-year-old punched his ticket to the event after a 9th place finish in the 89-kg division at the World Junior Championships last month in Guadalajara Mexico — his first international competition.
“It was definitely nerve-racking for sure, but I just treat it like any other lift,” Bradyn told The Journal. “It just came down to what I know how to do, and I finished top 10. Wasn’t my best day I would say, but I am happy I went there and put in a good total.”
Santavy lifted a total of 325 kilograms, lifting 145 kg in the snatch and 180 kg in the clean and jerk.
“I missed my last attempt at the snatch which was right there,” he said. “As I was standing up it went behind me and then my last clean and jerk.”
With a top 10 finish, Bradyn was named to Canada’s weightlifting team for the IWF Grand Prix II in Doha, Qatar — joining his brothers Noah and Boady who were also named to the team.
They’ll be led by their father and Team Canada coach Dalas Santavy.
“There is definitely a lot of eyes and pressure on me just because of past history,” Bradyn said of his family’s weightlifting legacy. “It started with my grandfather, my dad and my brothers, it’s been in our family forever.”
Bradyn’s grandfather Bob Santavy first competed for Canada at the 1967 Pan Am Games and went on to win a silver medal at the 1970 British Commonwealth Games, a bronze in the 1975 Pan Am Games and the 1978 Commonwealth games, as well as an Olympic appearance at the 1976 Summer Olympics, finishing 16th.
Dalas Santavy, who now coaches his sons, was coached by his father and also represented Canada in the Pan Am and Commonwealth games.
Bradyn’s brother Boady has also seen success internationally — including a silver medal at both the Pan Am and Commonwealth Games, and a fourth place finish at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“He did the best in the world, in my opinion, drug free,” Bradyn said of his brother. “The guy who got bronze tested positive two months later, so in my eyes, he got a medal.”
The International Testing Agency revealed that bronze medallist Anton Pliesnoi from Georgia, from the re-arranged 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo has been provisionally suspended earlier this year. His provisional suspension is an ongoing case.
Bradyn, who could be playing with the London Nationals in the GOJHL, and is a former Sarnia Legionnaire, says in his last year of eligibility for both junior hockey and weightlifting, it came down to which he loved more.
“I guess I developed more of a love for weightlifting more than hockey,” he said. “This would be my last Jr. year for weightlifting and hockey, so I had to make a choice.”
The youngest of the Santavy clan won’t have much time to relish in his top 10 finish at the world juniors, as the IWF Grand Prix II gets underway this week in Qatar.
“I am only 20, so I can bounce back pretty quick,” he said. “It doesn’t really affect me that much.”
“It definitely gets tough though when you're lifting that high of a volume multiple times that close together. I get home from Jr. Worlds in Mexico, and now I have to just snap into Qatar now instead of relaxing and enjoying my time off.”
While the event will be a chance for many to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, Bradyn is just focusing on gaining more international experience, and hopeful for the next Games in Los Angeles in 2028.
“I don’t think I am there yet,” Santavy told the Journal. “I am definitely looking at the LA Olympics — that’s going to be my main goal. My numbers aren’t quite there for Paris, but my brother Boady will be attending that for sure.”
Bradyn says he’s looking forward to competing the same day with his older brother in Qatar.
“Having my brothers by my side, especially because me and Boady will be lifting on the same day, which will be cool. It’s just all about me getting experience at the international stage.”
Boady, Bradyn says, is a big inspiration to him.
“Just watching Boady day-to-day, the pain he deals with, the constant abuse on his body from lifting, it just motivates me to go in and be there and go through pain with him,” he said. “I have watched him struggle through numerous sessions with his pain — that’s something I look up to him for — he’s a tough guy and has a great mindset.”
That’s something Bradyn is looking to bring with him to Qatar.
“My head is straight on Qatar now, and I am excited to be going to another international competition and start getting experience.”
Certainly not the typical family vacation, but Bradyn can’t wait to soak it all in, in Qatar alongside his family.
“I am excited for Qatar to be on a team with my two brothers and my dad, it’s gonna be fun and looking to put in an even better total.”
The IWF Grand Prix II is underway this week in Doha Qatar.