Sun | Jun 16, 2024

Strength of a Woman

Mental focus keeps dePass lifting goals

Published:Sunday | February 27, 2022 | 12:12 AM
Sami dePass.
Sami dePass.

Elite powerlifter Sami dePass is flexing her physical and mental strength as she pushes towards her athletic career goals.

dePass, who is also a nutrition coach and personal trainer, said after just being a regular gym goer, she noticed she was very strong so she got a powerlifting coach to help her with the sport that would soon change her life.

“I think training in the gym has had the biggest impact on my character and discipline,” she said.

“Competing in powerlifting is an extension of that training and I would say that it’s strengthened my strength of will and my perseverance outside of the gym. The mindset you gain from pushing yourself in the gym far exceeds that space.”

At just 24 years old, she has achieved a lot in her career locally. She is Jamaica’s national champion in the 69kg weight class and holds national records in the deadlift and squat events.


To add to her 470lb-deadlift record and her 415lb squat, she also has a personal best of 205lb in the bench press.

dePass said in order for her to be physically strong, she has learned to develop a strong mentality.

“I have the end goal in mind and I focus on executing each lift as best as I can,” she said.

“I have found that I really love the process of getting strong, not just the PRs that take place as a result. I have the discipline and work ethic after years of training and that’s what keeps me going.”

She said her mental strength has helped her to overlook some of the negative comments she has received as a result of being a woman in powerlifting.

“I wouldn’t say there are a lot of negative reactions but some people don’t know what it is and confuse it with bodybuilding – some people also mention getting injured,” she said.

She said some negative comments come as a result of her physique.

“I was always broad shouldered as a child, and lifting has just exacerbated that,” she mentioned.

“I don’t think of it as negative commentary, just people projecting their own insecurities on me. I love my body, and I am thankful for the way it carries me.”

dePass said she has also received some positive comments about being a powerlifter.

“The positive reactions are usually in regard to my strength and people being shocked that someone my size can lift so much. I’m 5’2”,” dePass said.

“I receive positive comments about how strong I look. Either way, it doesn’t truly impact me because I know that my body serves more than just an aesthetic purpose.”

She said regardless of the negative or positive reaction of people about her being a powerlifter, she remains focused on her goals.

“I’d love to be in the top 3 at a major IPF (International Powerlifting Federation) event,” she said. I’d love to continue to get stronger and eventually attract sponsorships and brand opportunities to encourage other women to pick up a barbell.”

Sharla Williams