Photo shows mat table with a young man sitting on it wearing white gym shoes, a blue T-shirt with a skull, and black pants. His wheelchair sits beside the mat table. A barbell with a lot of weight is evident in the background.

Beltrán lifts his way into competitions

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Beltrán lifts his way into competitions

Marco Beltrán is a 28-year-old powerlifter from Mexico City, who is in Phoenix for the summer.

Beltrán was born with arthrogryposis; his lower body muscles do not grow at a typical rate.

“I don’t have back control,” Beltrán said. “I don’t have stability for my legs.”

Beltrán competes in powerlifting bench press and his current max is approximately 265 pounds.

“I need to workout, I need to keep training,” Beltrán said. “My biggest dream is to be number one in powerlifting.”

Beltrán knows that being the best is no easy feat.


Wheelchair Curling Lessons.

“If I want to be number one then I have to lift 510-520 pounds, so I don’t want to stop training,” Beltrán said.

Beltrán has only been at Ability360 for a few weeks, after discovering the facility through the Internet.

“I was watching the American team and I saw this logo on their chest, which was a 360,” Beltrán said. “So I did some research, and I found this gym and I love it.”

Beltrán said living in Mexico with a disability is very hard, since you cannot even find things like elevators.

“Living in Mexico is pretty hard, and mostly for people with disabilities,” Beltrán said. “It’s not common to see handicapped people working. The government does not see us as people. There’s no accessibility in work or in stores. It’s hard to find work in Mexico, you need to work by yourself or you need to have a family member so they can support you economically.”

Beltrán said his mother was extremely supportive throughout his life.

“My mom thought that since I was her first born, I was going to be able to walk,” Beltrán said. “She did everything, we went to hospitals and I thank them because they watched over me. I had 16 surgeries in my legs, so it was pretty hard.”

Beltrán does his own training at Ability360, and says finding a powerlifting adaption coach can be very difficult.

“I want to see if someone could help me or see if there’s a coach in the Phoenix area for powerlifting adaption,” Beltrán said. “But I looked on the Internet and there’s nothing.”

Beltrán will remain in Phoenix until early fall, before returning to Mexico for additional training. He will return to Phoenix in the future.

“I’m going to go back to Mexico because I need to train,” Beltrán said. “In 2018, there’s a possibility I could go compete in Colombia.”

Beltrán has the possibility of competing in the “Cartagena 2018 Para Powerlifting Americas Open Championships,” which takes place from Dec. 5 through Dec. 8, 2018 in Cartagena, Colombia.

Portrait: Christian Guerithault.

Christian Guerithault is a Senior at Barrett, The Honors College at ASU. He majors in Sports and Media Studies through ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business. Christian is a native of Phoenix, Arizona and has two older brothers. He loves the NBA, NFL, soccer, and the UFC. Christian hopes to one day work in the front office of a professional sports team.