Some competitive weightlifters were in Montreal on Friday to prove that while age is just a number, it’s the amount of plates you can clean and jerk that really matters.

The city is hosting the World Masters Weightlifting Championships for the first time. Among the competitors at the Pierre-Charbonneau Centre was Quebec native and reigning champion Marcel Perron, who is still lifting at 86-years-old.

Perron successfully defended his title in the 73-kilogram, 80-and-above class despite suffering both a heart attack and a stroke before winning the title last year in Spain.   

The octogenarian said he took up weightlifting in the 1960s, eventually joining the Canadian men’s national team and began competing on the World Masters circuit in the 1980s.

Perron added he was grateful to defend his title in his home province, both because he was able to compete in front of friends and family, and because it made things easier financially.

“I’m very glad for that because I don’t have to spend money for the plane and for the hotel,” he said. “Here, it costs me nothing. I worked hard for this.”