News, Sports

12 Wing AVN Tech shows his strength

MCpl Auclair successfully lifts 177kg to win the clean and jerk category at the World Masters Weightlifting Championships in Montreal in August 2019. MICHÈLE GRENIER

AVN tech from 12 Wing wins at weightlifting competition

By 12 Wing PA

“I had big confidence in my training,” says MCpl Gabriel Auclair. “I kept thinking of all the work I did to get there. I focused on my breathing, I trusted my abilities.”

MCpl Auclair’s confidence was warranted. In August, the Aviation Systems Technician (AVN Tech) from 12 Wing Shearwater placed first in his weight class and age group and helped Team Canada’s men’s team earn the number one spot at the 2019 World Masters Olympic Weightlifting Championships in Montreal.

“It was very stressful because Canada was still in second place when it was my turn,” he says, adding he was the last on the team to compete and that he knew if he lifted well, it would mean the difference between a silver or a gold for the men’s team.

Participating in the over-35 age group and over-109 kilogram weight class, MCpl Auclair pulled through for his teammates in both of his events: the snatch and the clean and jerk. He lifted 138 kilograms for the snatch and 177 kilograms in the clean and jerk, for a total weight of 315 kilograms. As a first time member of Team Canada, he set three Canadian records, one for each individual event and one for the combined total.

Back at 12 Wing’s 406 Maritime Operational Training Squadron, MCpl Auclair is all smiles when he talks about his experience in Montréal. He says the competition was intense and the American team can be quite intimidating. “But none of that affected me,” he says. “And my coach was quite proud of me for that.”

MCpl Auclair is back to his regular work and workout routine now, after a short two-week break from training last month. The AVN Tech fits his five-times-per-week training schedule around his hours at the wing, where has worked since 2003 when he finished his trade training. He was first posted to Shearwater from 2003-2007, then 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron in Patricia Bay, and now 406 (Maritime) Operational Training Squadron in Shearwater again.

“I love the people I work with,” says MCpl Auclair. “This crew has been outstanding. We really look out for each other.” As for the technical aspect, “I love the challenge of mechanical work. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always torn everything apart and put it back together.”

Joining the CAF was his father’s idea. He suggested it as a route to help MCpl Auclair become bilingual and improve his chances for his application to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. “But I loved my job, so I stayed.” In doing so, he’s travelled the world on deployments with HMC Ships Ottawa, Ville de Quebec, Algonquin and Winnipeg.

MCpl Auclair radiates positive energy when he speaks—whether it’s about his past successes or future goals. He says he expects to deploy again, but hopes to do so as a Sergeant, something he’s striving for these days. He’s working toward his Level C qualification, which will qualify him to ensure the helicopter maintenance has been done properly and release the aircraft to the pilot.

At the same time he’s working on career progression, he’ll be logging 2.5-hour workouts at his local gym with an eye on the upcoming season. This will include competitions at the provincial and national levels, with the ultimate goal of being selected again for Team Canada and defending his title next year at World Championships Masters next year Germany.