I have been lucky enough to work with some great athletes over the years, including two very successful Powerlifters; husband and wife team Ann and Neil Thomas, who in February of this year, invited me to the British Drug Free Powerlifting Championships held at Rock Barracks just outside Woodbridge.
For those that don’t know much about the sport of Powerlifting, it’s fundamentally about attempting to lift as much weight as you can for a single repetition. There are three disciplines that are performed, The Squat; The Bench Press and The Dead lift and competitors compete in as many or as few as they choose.
Each lift is scrutinized by three judges, who cast an individual vote on the validity of each lift. One of the most striking things about the day was the sheer diversity in age and size of the competitors. There were men and women of all ages, from 16 up to almost 80!
Powerlifting truly is a sport for all age groups, and maintaining muscle and bone strength in ones senior years has got to provide immense health benefits. The clichéd “size doesn’t matter” also applies in powerlifting, as a lifters body weight and age are also taken into consideration. This allows each group to compete on a pretty much even level.
However, I sensed that for many of the lifters, it was just as much about the personal challenge of beating ones own best, as it was about beating anyone else. The other noticeable thing was the support and encouragement given by competitors to other competitors, it seemed like everyone wanted everyone else to do well.
I did see one competitor grab another by the lapel, scream at him to “Give it everything” while proceeding to slap him round the face. He then continued to push him around a bit and then yelled out “Get on with it you b*@!&£!!” as he slapped him again round the back of the head!
However, the competitor then immediately deadlifted what looked like the weight of a small house. Several British records were broken at the event, and I for one had a most enjoyable time. If you fancy giving powerlifting a go, or going along for a look, then the BDFPA website is a good place to start. www.bdfpa.co.uk
• Ant Watt is the owner of HMF – www.hmfworld.com – and a respected expert on sports equipment and practices. Tel: 01473 226888. (This column appears every month in Ipswich24 magazine)