Nathan Damron is skipping school this week, but don’t call the truancy officer just yet.
The Gardner Edgerton High School junior is competing in the Youth World Weightlifting Championship in Kosice, Slovakia with Team USA Weightlifting this week.
“We are really excited proud and grateful that Nathan has the chance to travel to Eastern Europe and compete for the USA,” dad Greg Damron, said.
The international competition this week isn’t the weightlifter’s first. He spent the summer training and competing around the country.
He took the gold medal at the 2012 National Championships in Dearborn, Mich., last June. Competing in the 77 kilo (169lbs) weight class, Nathan lifted 105 kilos, or 231 pounds, in the “snatch” and 128 kilos, or 281 pounds, in the “clean jerk.”
In July, the 16-year-old was invited to train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. There, he qualified to attend the Slovakian event taking place this week. At summer’s end, the ambitious junior attended the AAU Junior Olympic Games in Houston taking another first place in his weight division. In the clean and jerk, he lifted 133 kilos, or 292 pounds. In the snatch, he hoisted 107 kilos, or 235 pounds. He was also named best lifter for his age group.
Nathan’s dad Greg credits coach Boris Urman with much of Nathan’s success.
Urman won Coach of the Year at the Junior Olympic Games. A successful Russian weight-lifting coach, Urman has been coaching in the U.S. for several years now. At one point, he had a small training facility in Gardner, and he even coached a handful of students in the Damron’s basement at one point. He now coaches at a facility near Shawnee Mission North.
In addition to coaching Nathan, Boris also counts Nathan’s younger sister Hannah, a freshman at GEHS and Corey Brooks, a senior at GEHS, among his other students.
Nathan and Corey travel to Boris’ Merriam training facility, Doug Lytle’s Extreme Athletics, six days a week.
Greg is excited about what the future might hold for Nathan.
“We are also looking forward to the many possibilities that lie ahead of him in this sport,” he said.
Nathan departed for Slovakia on Sept. 16.
Competition was still ongoing at press time. It is being live streamed on the Internet at LINK.