For Coach Dom, lifting weights is a spiritual exercise
CarrieAnn Randolph, Sports Editor
December 17, 2012
Filed under Sports
A few weeks ago, Dominic Ahuna ’93, ‘Iolani’s strength and conditioning coach, accomplished what some might call a miraculous feat at the American Open Masters Championships in Monrovia, Calif. The American Open Masters is the Olympic sport of weightlifting’s competition for senior athletes out of Olympic contention. Weightlifting–not to be confused with powerlifting or bodybuilding–is the ultimate sport of strength and power. It consists of two events: the snatch and the clean-and-jerk.
Ahuna, known as Coach Dom around the ‘Iolani campus, won first place by completing six perfect lifts. He lifted 297 pounds (135 kg) in the snatch and 341 pounds (155 kg) in the clean-and-jerk.
He now is qualified for the Nationals and is also eligible to compete in the World Championships.
After training since August to compete in the American Open Masters Championships, just 13 days before the competition, Coach Dom partially tore his left pectoral muscle.
“I was in the middle of a lift and I heard it tear, like when you tear meat or chicken off the bone,” he said, motioning with his hands. A normal pectoral strain or tear would take several weeks to heal. Coach Dom, however, who only started competing three years ago, is a Christian and asked people to pray for God to heal him.
“I decided to walk in faith, and kept training despite the discomfort,” he said. “By the third day the pain was completely gone and by the sixth day 90 percent of my strength
and 100 percent of my range of motion had returned.” He competed in the contest only 12 days after the initial tear. Coach Dom said that the previously injured muscle actually felt stronger than the non-injured side.
While at the competition, he met with Olympic coaches and ministered to other athletes. Even though he already qualifies for the World Championships, Coach Dom is going to compete in the Nationals in order to gain experience. That competition will occur in March in Moorestown, NJ.
For athletes, injuries and setbacks are expected, but it is how the athletes respond that defines their character. In Coach Dom’s first weightlifting competition, the 2009 Aloha State Games, he broke three state records all with a torn quad muscle.
“God heals you,” said Coach Dom when asked for any advice for injured or recovering athletes. “Illness or injury never comes from Him. We can always ask Him to take it away. Even if you’re not a believer, it’s not always based on how much faith you have, if you pray
or even if you go to church.”