The 2016 IPF Asia/Oceania Powerlifting and Bench Press Championships were tipped to be one of the biggest continental championships on the IPF calendar with the presence of some big names in the sport capable of breaking world records along with heated battles in many weight classes. International Powerlifting returns to New Zealand after the 2013 Commonwealth/Oceania Championships held in Auckland in the north island. However, we are in the south island and the beautiful city of Christchurch was the host of what was a truly memorable competition for Powerlifting worldwide. I have broken down the event into seven moments of greatness and without further delay, here they are.
- Febrose Tsiode (Nauru) breaks the sub-junior -52kg Bench Press (twice) and Total World Records
Remember this name! I first saw Febrose at the 2013 Commonwealth and Oceania Championships in Auckland, New Zealand where she attempted the sub-junior world record Bench Press twice with 70.5kg/155lb at the age of 14. She finished with a 57.5kg/126lb which was an Oceania record at the time. She broke the sub-junior world record in Melbourne in 2014 (Asia/Oceania Championships) with 75kg/165lb immediately followed by 80kg/176lb. Since then, her record was broken twice at the 2016 World Championships in Killeen with Daria Lazebna (Ukraine) adding 0.5kg then Dilyra Karimova (Kazakhstan) adding a further 1kg.
Fast forward to the current competition where Febrose is now 17 years old and she had two competitions in her schedule, the raw bench press and powerlifting events. In the raw bench press event, she pressed 100kg/220lb for a single-lift sub-junior world record! For comparison, the open world record single-lift bench press is 105kg/231lb held by junior lifter, Anna Filimonova (Russia). This record is the 3-lift bench press world record as well and she chased it in her 3-lift event. She started well squatting a sub-junior world record 125.5kg/276lb. She opened her bench press at 90kg/198lb which was 8.5kg up on the world record, followed by 100kg//220lb which flew up, she looked good for the world record. The Nauruan coaches thought the same and she attempted 105.5kg/232lb but it didn’t budge from her chest. The rule in the IPF is that you must make a total in order for any record to be official, therefore Febrose must make one deadlift. She opened at 130kg/286lb and it slipped out of her hands, an issue that usually isn’t an easy fix. She retook 130kg and missed on grip again. She had one more attempt to seal her world record and came back out to 130kg and got it. Her 355.5kg/783lb total was also a sub-junior world record and her Wilks of 444.84 meant she was also awarded best female sub-junior lifter.
- Australia’s Sub-Junior and Junior women dominated
Australia is bringing through some impressive female powerlifting talent and many were on show at this competition. Here were some of the fantastic performances:
- Alexandra Dieni (-47kg) broke 9 Oceania sub-junior records finishing with an 87.5kg/192lb squat, 62.5kg/137lb bench press and a 110kg/242lb deadlift for a 260kg/573lb total.
- Bethany Parker (-84kg) smashes her current world records and chips the sub-junior deadlift world record. She added 11.5kg to her Squat world record with 177.5kg/391lb. However her bench press was the most impressive in my eyes. She finished with 108.5kg/239lb which is an open Oceania and national record, at 17 years old, so impressive. On deadlift she chipped Australian teammate Paige White’s world record with 195.5kg/431lb. Her total of 481.5kg/1061lb is also a sub-junior world record!
- Nathalie Moen Inez Balhald (-57kg) breaks the open Oceania and national squat record with 145kg/319lb. She also broke two world records in deadlift finishing with 175kg/385lb. Her total of 390kg/859lb was also a junior world record total!
- Schae Zarew (-63kg) broke the junior squat world record with 160.5kg/353lb along with an 85.5kg/188lb Oceania record bench press. She dominated on deadlift setting two junior world records finishing with 190kg/418lb. Her total of 436kg/961lb is a junior world record as well as open national and Oceania record.
- Courtney Miller and Kristin Perissinotto (-72kg) both set Oceania records in Deadlift with Kristin pulling 174kg/383lb while Courtney set two Oceania records finishing with 180.5kg/397lb.
- Yan-Fei ‘Yani’ Zhao (-84kg) broke the junior world record Squat with a 198kg/436lb second attempt and then attempted an open world record 206.5kg/455lb but it just wasn’t there. Yani also pulled 198kg/436lb for an Oceania record deadlift and her 501kg/1104lb total is an open national and Oceania record.
- Tiarne Augustine (84kg+) broke her own junior Oceania and open national record bench press with 115kg/253lb.
- Liz Craven (Australia) breaks the open -52kg Squat and Total World Record
City Strength sponsored athlete, Liz Craven (-52kg), achieved an enormous goal at this competition and rounds out a fantastic year. At World’s this year (Killeen), she became the first Australian lifter (male or female) to accumulate 500 Wilks points. However, she’s managed to top that performance here breaking the open world record squat, Masters 1 world record deadlift and the open world record total.
She has been very close to the Squat world record for a while. She has squatted 150kg/330lb in training many times however, prior to this meet her best squat in a competition was 147.5kg/325lb. This was the first time she had successfully lifted over 150kg in competition and she managed to break the open world record with 153.5kg/338lb which chips fellow Masters 1 lifter Suzanne Hartwig-Gary’s record set in Killeen. On bench, she hit 85kg/187lb which is an open national record. This meant she needed a 180kg/396lb deadlift to break the open world record total which was held by current world champion, Sofia Loft (Sweden). Liz with her coach and husband, Leon, played it really smart with attempt selections with an easy opener at 165kg/363lb, followed by 175.5kg/386lb which is an open Oceania record as well as a Masters 1 world record, it chips Marisa Inda’s (USA) record set at the Arnold’s this year. Liz put on 180kg/396lb for the world record total and smashed it, 418.5kg/922lb total which extends the world record by 1kg. Her Wilks of 524.05 makes her the third best Powerlifter in the IPF behind two greats of the sport, Jennifer Thompson (USA) and Kimberly Walford (USA).
- Tavita Lipine (Samoa) breaks 4 world records in the Masters 3 -120kg class.
How about this! Samoa’s Tavita Lipine (-120kg) turned 60 this year and produced a performance to remember in raw Powerlifting. Lipine broke 3 world records in Squat opening with 280kg/617lb before attempting 290kg/639lb and the elusive 300kg/661lb! This increased the world record by 80kg and is the biggest raw squat by a lifter over the age of 60. His bench press of 160kg/352lb is an Oceania Masters 3 record and increases the standard record by 22.5kg. On deadlift he opened at the world record with 280kg/617lb but missed, he retook it and was successful but was unsuccessful with his third attempt at 290kg/639lb. The 280kg deadlift increases the Masters 3 world record by 2.5kg and the 740kg/1631lb total increases the M3 world record by, get ready for this, 112.5kg! His total is the largest by a lifter over the age of 60 regardless of weight class. Just incredible.
- Cameron McKenzie (Australia) breaks the junior -120kg Deadlift and Total World Record
City Strength sponsored athlete, Cameron McKenzie (-120kg) is Australia’s best male lifter on Wilks becoming the first male lifter to go over 500 Wilks points in October at open nationals. Cam came into the competition coming off an 880kg/1940lb total in the 120kg+ class in October but with a weight cut down to -120kg would he have managed to maintain or better his performance? Well he bettered his performance… and then some.
Cam went on to squat 325kg/716lb for a junior Oceania record, an open national record and a 2.5kg PB. Cam also hit a huge goal on bench with 200kg/440lb which is a junior national record by 4.5kg. It is commonly known that Cam is a fantastic deadlifter having the biggest deadlift ever by Powerlifting Australia lifter with 360kg/793lb at nationals this year. He opened at an easy 320kg/705lb followed by a 353kg/778lb open national and Oceania record for a junior world record in total (878kg/1935lb). He followed this with breaking the two year old junior world record deadlift with 363kg/800lb, this was formerly held by another fantastic deadlifter, Tuomas Hautala (Finland). His final total of 888kg/1957lb is the biggest raw total ever by an Australian lifter.
- Andy Mahon (New Zealand) breaks the Masters 1 -105kg Squat and Total World Record
Andy Mahon (-105kg) is a name that not many people will know, however, Andy turned 40 this year and is now eligible to set Masters 1 world records. In this meet, he did just that. He opened his Squat at 275kg/606lb to smash the Masters 1 Oceania record by 20kg and he followed this with a 290kg/639lb second attempt. He then put on 302.5kg/666lb for a Masters 1 world record and he smashed it!! It adds 2.5kg to previous record which was held by Igor Makovetskyi (Ukraine) set in Salo, Finland in 2015. He went on to bench 165kg/363lb and smash the Masters 1 Oceania record Deadlift with his opener of 285kg/628lb. His opener also added 42.5kg to the Oceania Masters 1 total record with 752.5kg/1658lb. Chasing the Masters 1 world record total, he would need a 315kg/694lb deadlift to total 782.5kg/1725lb and add 2kg to the world record. He went to 302.5kg/666lb for his second attempt to add 17.5kg to the Oceania Masters 1 total and Deadlift record. He added another 15kg and attempted 317.5kg/700lb for what would be a Masters 1, Oceania and world record total but the bar got stuck on his legs and it was a no lift. Andy won by a comfortable 10kg ahead of Australia’s Hayden Murphy. His 770kg/1697lb total is just 10.5kg off the Masters 1 world record total held by the great Masters 2 Canadian bench presser Leon Brown and increases the Masters 1 Oceania total record by 60kg.
- Jezza Uepa (Nauru) becomes the first lifter to Squat 1000lb+ in international competition
Last but certainly not least, the lifter that all Powerlifting fans were excited to see, the King of Nauruan Powerlifting, Jezza Uepa. In the lead up to the meet, Jezza was on fire showing many videos on his Instagram (@jezzauepa6745563710 if you want to follow it) of him squatting some incredible weights. The weight on the bar for his squat peaked at 470kg/1036lb for a single, a 440kg/970lb double and a 400kg/881lb front squat single. There were two things on his mind for this meet and that was to squat over 1000lb in international competition and break the open world record total which at the time of the meet stood at 1043kg/2299lb held by Ray Williams (USA).
The scene was set, the final session of the final day of competition, Jezza nominates his opening squat at 420kg/925lb, a weight he is comfortable with especially considering his training form. His opening squat is always amazing to watch and this was no exception, it flew up and he went straight to 455kg/1003lb for a new open world record. The lights in the arena were going crazy, Purple Lamborghini blasted through the speakers, the crowd was going wild, the bar was loaded. He came out with his trademark wave to the crowd and he was ready to go. He unloaded the bar with a shaky walkout, not as smooth as he usually is and got a very fast start call, so fast in fact that I didn’t think he had planted his feet prior to start call, which would have been a no-lift straight away. The start call was given, he took a large breath, forced his chest up and started his descent. Now Jezza is an all or nothing squatter, if his technique is altered slightly he will miss the lift, or at least have to grind through it and that is exactly what happened here. He hit the hole and shifted forward slightly which caused the bar speed to dramatically decline, however he grinded through it and finished the lift. Three white lights. Geno goes wild, the crowd goes wild and Jezza had a few tears in his eyes, you could see how much it meant to him and his country of Nauru. He had one more attempt to go and he put on 460kg/1014lb to surpass Ray Williams’ 456kg/1005lb squat he did at USAPL nationals. However, he just lacked the energy and missed just out of the hole.
After this historic moment, we all had to recover as he needed to bench and this was important as the higher he can go on bench, the less he will need to attempt for the world record total. He opened at 252.5kg/556lb which was incredibly easy and followed this with an Oceania record 262.5kg/578lb. He then attempted 268kg/590lb for an open Oceania record and got extremely close being called for downward movement by two referees and a hip rise/foot movement by one referee. This means Jezza would need 327.5kg/722lb on deadlift to add 1kg to the world record total. He opened with an easy 305kg/672lb and went straight to 327.5kg for the world record total. It flew off the ground and if it wasn’t for his grip it would have been an easy world record, an issue which Jezza has been struggling with for a long time. He came back out to 327.5kg for his third attempt but the strength just wasn’t there. He was left with a 1022.5kg/2254lb total going 5 from 9 lifts which is staggering. Jezza turns 37 in 2017 so we don’t know how many years of top form he has left but if Liz Craven and USA legend David Ricks are anything to go by, I think Jezza will be at top form for many years to come.
Many memorable performances were made at the 2016 Asia/Oceania Powerlifting Championships and it certainly was one of the best Powerlifting competitions in raw Powerlifting’s short history. The next big event on the IPF calendar is in January and is the Reykjavik International Games in Iceland. Some big names have been nominated including; world record holder in deadlift and total, Kimberly Walford (USA, -72kg), world record holder in bench press and total, Jennifer Thompson (USA, -63kg), world record holder in deadlift Joy Nnamani (Great Britain, -52kg), current European champion, Sami Nieminen (Finland, -74kg) and gold medallist in deadlift at the 2016 open world championships, Julian J. K. Johannsson (Iceland, 120kg+).
Team PB Powerlifting