| Tim Davies
Last fortnight, I previewed the women’s competition at the 2017 World Games and presented a few key differences that occurs at the World Games compared to other competitions that the IPF sanctions. You can check out that article here. The main difference is that all medals, i.e. individual lift and total medals, are solely decided by Wilks points. So my predictions on medalists will be decided by Wilks rather than highest load lifted.
Now that we’re up to date, let’s take a look at the men’s competition at this year’s World Games!
Lightweight (-59kg and -66kg) – My pick: Sergey Fedosienko (Russia)
Image supplied by the International Powerlifting Federation
The lightweight category places the -59kg and -66kg classes together in what looks to be an easy win for Russia and Sergey Fedosienko’s second World Games title. But anything can happen in equipped lifting so Sergey will still need to be on his game if he wants to win not only his weight class, but the entire competition. Plenty of experience in this class with Tsung-Ting Hsieh (Chinese Taipei, -66kg) nominated second at his 5th World Games while -66kg deadlift WR holder Hassan El-Beghitti (France) and Polish legend Dariusz Wszola are competing in their 4th. Watch for newcomer, Charles Okpoko (USA, -66kg), who only first competed in an open world championship less than 12 months ago and is only 22 years of age this year, plenty of room for development!
Squat: -59kg WR – 300kg / 661lb – Sergey Fedosienko | -66kg WR – 326kg / 718lb – Konstantin Danilov
Sergey looks comfortable for squat gold! One of only two lifters in this division to have ever squatted equal to or over 300kg / 661lb, the other being Okpoko who won squat gold last year with 307.5kg / 677lb in the -66kg class. Sergey has been hitting 280kg / 617lb to 290kg / 639lb fairly consistently since 2007 and over 290kg since 2011 so I doubt he will be beaten. He hasn’t hit a 300kg squat since his WR at the 2014 Open World’s and has struggled to go over 290kg since. Based off the bodyweights from 2016 World’s, Okpoko would have needed a 322.5kg / 710lb squat to beat Fedosienko on Wilks, however if Fedosienko is left on his opener (270kg / 595lb at 2016 World’s), Okpoko would only need 300kg, 7.5kg less than his best squat at this meet. It’s certainly possible for Okpoko to beat Fedosienko, however, Fedosienko will have to have a shocker for that to happen.
Fedosienko’s squat series from 2016 World’s,finishing with 290kg for squat gold!
Bench Press: -59kg WR – 205kg / 451lb – Sergey Fedosienko (Russia) | -66kg WR – 220.5kg / 486lb – Mariusz Grotkowski (Poland)
Bench is a lot closer! Current WR holder in the -66kg class, Grotkowski, was a reserve for this meet so he has been left out. Fedosienko is the obvious favourite with his nominated 205kg / 451lb bench and 178.99 Wilks. His closest challenger is former WR holder in the -66kg class, Yoshihiro Sato (Japan), attending his first ever World Games! Sato hit the standard WR at 220kg / 485lb at 2016 World’s but has not competed since, internationally anyway. It’s still is a long shot as Fedosienko’s 178.99 Wilks would require 228kg / 502lb from Sato in order to win the bench competition, a big feat from a lifter who has just cracked 220kg and has been competing internationally since 2005. Much like squat, Fedosienko will need to make smart attempts here just in case he misses a lift, which is very easy to do if a slight error is made. He seems to be comfortable with 200kg / 440lb, taking it for a second attempt in 2015 and 2016, but if he is left on 200kg due to missing a third attempt, Sato would need around 222.5kg / 490lb, which is certainly achievable. Fedosienko for the gold here too!
Fedosienko’s bench series from 2016 World’s finishing with 205kg for a 3-lift WR.
Deadlift: -59kg WR – 275kg / 606lb – Standard | -66kg WR – 313kg / 690lb – Hassan El-Beghitti (France)
Deadlift gold won’t be as decided as what squat and bench is. Fedosienko is the defending deadlift champion though with a 255kg / 562lb second attempt before missing 265kg / 584lb. He is certainly a much better deadlifter than that now with a best of 273kg / 601lb in Russia and 271kg / 597lb in international competition. He deadlifts raw so his potential numbers are very close to what he pulls raw, usually a little less due to the enormous amounts of fatigue experienced during his squat and bench. I see this event coming down to the big -66kg deadlifters, Antti Savolainen and Hassan El-Beghitti. El-Beghitti is the current WR holder but that was done in 2012 and he has pulled more than that once since, at 2013 Europeans in the -74kg class. More importantly though, El-Beghitti is the current deadlift gold medalist from 2016 World’s with 305kg / 672lb while Savolainen was the runner-up with 300kg. El-Beghitti’s 305kg was 8 Wilks points above Fedosienko’s 267.5kg / 589lb and because El-Beghitti and Savolainen are competitive for third place, they may just put on what is needed for third as the total is always more important.
Rare footage showing El-Beghitti’s current -66kg WR from 2012 World’s in Puerto Rico. In my opinion, he is one of the best sumo deadlifters on the international circuit.
Total: -59kg WR – 762.5kg / 1,681lb – Sergey Fedosienko (Russia) | -66kg WR – 815kg / 1,796lb – Sergey Gladkikh (Russia)
Fedosienko has it comfortably on total. The World Games being a Wilks event certainly suits Fedosienko as he will out total many of the -66kg lifters, as he does in his raw lifting. Being so far in front, he may attempt to increase his WR total or to finally hit the standard deadlift WR in the -59kg class but knowing his demeanor at meets of this calibre, he’ll probably play it safe and try at the next meet. The battle for second and third is more juicy though. Tsung-Ting Hsieh is nominated second at 618.9 and I only see one lifter surpassing that and that is Charles Okpoko. Okpoko has been dealing with a quad injury according to his Instagram so it could open the door for El-Beghitti and Savolainen who will pull more than Okpoko and therefore will have the final say. Fedosienko first, Hsieh second, Okpoko third (if squat goes well).
Fedosienko’s deadlift series finishing at 267.5kg for a 762.5kg WR total.
Middleweight (-74kg and -83kg) – My pick: Jaroslaw Olech (Poland)
Image supplied by the International Powerlifting Federation
The great Jaroslaw Olech comes into his third World Games looking to add world title number 18 (15 World Championships and 2 World Games titles)! He is the defending champion holding off Kjell Bakkelund (Norway), Jose Castillo (Ecuador, currently serving an 8 year ban) and Alexey Sorokin (Russia, unable to compete due to the Russian limit on entries to 2016 World’s) in 2013. Olech’s 649.2 nominated Wilks is from 2016 World’s and is a whopping 30 points ahead of 2016 -83kg champion Volodymyr Rysiev (Ukraine) and a further 10 points ahead of 2015 -83kg world champion and 2016 runner-up Andriy Naniev (Ukraine). -74kg runner-up Mykola Barannik (Ukraine) can’t even gain a spot in this division due to the abundance of Ukrainian lifters! Canada’s number 1 equipped lifter Adam Ramzy looks really competitive to take home the first total medal at the World Games since 1993!
Squat: -74kg WR – 367.5kg / 810lb – Jaroslaw Olech | -83kg WR – 375kg / 826lb – Alexey Sorokin (Russia)
How do you compete with a 367.5kg squat at a bodyweight below 74kg?! Olech’s current WR is certainly a lift that will almost never be beaten by another lifter any time soon. He has hit 367.5kg twice with the WR being taken from Stavanger in 2013 and he managed to hit it again last year with second place Barannik being a massive 42.5kg behind. The closest someone has been to Olech in recent history is Sergei Gaishinetc (Russia) who smashed 340kg / 749lb in Hamm, 2015 and to date is the only lifter to be competitive for a total win over Olech in modern times, however Kjell Bakkelund’s return to equipped lifting at the 2017 World Championships may add another name to that list. Back to this meet, for reference, an -83kg lifter would need to hit a 400kg / 881lb squat (weighing in at 83kg on the dot) in order to beat Olech on Wilks and I don’t see that happening at all in this meet, or ever. Olech's squat is a joy to watch and especially with the World Games being in Poland, a huge crowd will be there to support him, like there is at every World Championship he attends.
Olech’s current WR at 367.5kg from Stavanger 2013!
Bench Press: -74kg WR – 245kg / 540lb – Adrien Poinson (France) | -83kg WR – 268kg / 590lb – Evgenii Vasiukov (Russia)
Olech isn’t as great on bench press which allows other lifters to showcase their strengths! Both Poinson and Vasiukov are not nominated due to not competing at 2016 World’s. However two lifters really stand out, former -83kg WR holder Andriy Naniev (Ukraine) and newcomer to the -83kg class, Kim-Raino Roelvaag (Norway). Now, due to Kim-Raino being a -74kg lifter until mid-2016, he is still filling out as an -83kg lifter which gives 2 advantages, 1) he will compete as a light -83kg lifter and won’t need to bench as much as Naniev to beat him, 2) he has mass to gain to increase his bench even further. I think the smart move would be to increase mass, even though it does mean he will have to bench more to beat Naniev. Kim-Raino’s 260kg / 573lb bench from 2017 Equipped Europeans at 80.25kg / 176lb bodyweight is just half a Wilks point behind Naniev’s 265.5kg / 585lb nomination at 82.7kg / 182lb and both were absolute grinders so it sounds like the lifter hits 3/3 will win the bench gold, however, I like Naniev!
Naniev’s 265.5kg WR bench from 2016 World’s, a lift of great importance following a hard 260kg second attempt and needing every kilogram going into deadlift.
Deadlift: -74kg WR – 327.5kg / 722lb – Sergei Gaishinetc (Russia) | -83kg WR – 345kg / 760lb – Tom Martin (Great Britain)
Olech’s deadlift is why he wins meets and has so for the past two decades. His 310kg / 683lb second attempt from 2016 World’s is his nomination and with a best deadlift of 320kg / 705lb, he looks good to take gold here. His number 1 rival will be Volodymyr Rysiev (Ukraine), 2016 -83kg world champion and silver medalist on deadlift with a 325kg / 716lb opening attempt before missing 342.5kg / 755lb twice. With a best deadlift of 335kg / 738lb, Rysiev can certainly challenge for deadlift gold but Olech will need to deadlift poorly and Rysiev will need pull more than he ever has in international competition before, a big ask. Olech to take gold here!
Olech’s best deadlift in international competition, 320kg from the 2011 Open World Championship, the first lifter to break the -74kg deadlift WR since the weight classes changed.
Total: -74kg WR – 905kg / 1,995lb – Jaroslaw Olech (Poland) | -83kg WR – 942.5kg / 2,077lb – Kjell Bakkelund (Norway)
Olech has it comfortably here and if all has went well, he may even extend his WR total. The battle for second and third looks really tight but Rysiev looks good for silver and possibly an increase in Bakkelund’s WR total following his fantastic performance at 2016 World’s. Naniev looks good for third but is only 2.1 points behind Canada’s Adam Ramzy so if Naniev deadlifts poorly, Ramzy will put on what he needs to surpass him.
Olech’s nominated total from 2016 World’s with 895kg / 1,973lb!
Heavyweight (-93kg to -105kg) – My pick: Sergii Bilyi (Ukraine)
Image supplied by the International Powerlifting Federation
The heavyweight showdown looks to be between the two giants of the -93kg class with 2015 and 2016 World Champion, Sergii Bilyi, nominated first at a 638.2 Wilks followed by 2014 World Champion and the first -93kg lifter to total over 1,000kg / 2,204lb, Dmitry Inzarkin (Russia). Bilyi definitely comes into the meet as the form lifter having defeated Inzarkin at 2016 World’s comfortably in the end, winning by 22.5kg. Inzarkin didn’t have a great day which inflated Bilyi’s performance with a squat that was 15kg below his best and a deadlift that was 10kg below his international best and 20kg below his national best. Another Ukrainian, Dmytro Semenenko is nominated third ahead of American Ian Bell and Norwegian Stian Walgermo, all separated by 1 Wilks point. A really tight battle for gold and bronze looks to be on the line here, let’s see how the individual lifts stack up.
Squat: -93kg WR – 395kg / 870lb – Standard | -105kg WR – 431kg / 950lb – Oleksandr Rubets (Ukraine)
On squat I like 2015 and 2016 -105kg World Champion Dmytro Semenenko (Ukraine), followed closely by Bilyi. Until teammate Oleksandr Rubets’ incredible open WR total performance at the 2017 Equipped Europeans, Semenenko held the open WR squat with 417.5kg / 920lb at 2016 World’s which is 6 points above Bilyi’s 387.5kg / 854lb gold medal squat. Both of these lifts were second attempts with Semenenko attempting 425kg / 936lb and missing just out of the hole while Bilyi coming off the 387.5kg grinder, attempted to surpass the standard WR with 395.5kg / 871lb which was an epic grind which had him stuck for 10 seconds before the spotters intervened. Semenenko’s 417.5kg looked a lot more conservative than Bilyi’s 387.5kg so I like Semenenko to take gold here.
Semenenko’s 417.5kg squat from 2016 World’s which added 1.5kg to the WR at the time!
Bench Press: -93kg WR – 305kg / 672lb – Jan Wegiera (Poland) | -105kg WR – 323.5kg / 713lb – Charlie Connor (USA)
A really close battle looks to be on the cards here with the -93kg and -105kg WR holders, Jan Wegiera and Charlie Connor. Based on performances from 2016 World’s, Connor is ahead by 2 points and he certainly looked like he had more in the tank. Wegiera is looking for a good showing after he bombed in 2013 on bench (along with former equipped and classic world champion, Mikhaylo Bulanyy, Ukraine) with 280kg / 617lb, a number he is certainly capable of now. Connor, on the other hand, is attending his first World Games and after smashing 2013 World Games champion, Vadym Dovganyuk’s (Ukraine) WR at 2016 World’s and he looks like he has momentum moving forward to further his WR, I like Connor to gold!
Connor dominates 323.5kg WR from 2016 World’s, plenty more in the tank there!
Deadlift: -93kg WR – 370.5kg / 816lb – Erik Gunhamn (Sweden) | -105kg WR – 387.5kg / 854lb – Anibal Coimbra (Luxembourg)
One name dominates this list and that is Ian Bell! Former WR holder in the -93kg class after having some fantastic battles with current WR holder Erik Gunhamn over the years, a junior world championship battle in 2013 really kicked it off. Since Gunhamn has gone up to the -105kg class, it opens the door for Bell to be relatively unchallenged for the WR and the deadlift gold at events of this calibre. I see Bell pulling something massive to defeat Semenenko and/or Walgermo after setting himself up for gold on deadlift on the second attempt. To qualify for this event, Bell pulled 370kg / 815lb at 2016 World’s which equalled his best ever deadlift in international competition and he smashed it. With more in the tank, Bell should extend his WR and hopefully a bronze medal!
Bell’s performance to get him to Wroclaw, 352.5kg / 777lb squat, 222.5kg / 490lb bench press and the 370kg deadlift for third place overall.
Total: -93kg WR – 1,022.5kg / 2,254lb – Sergii Bilyi (Ukraine) | -105kg WR – 1,051kg / 2,317lb – Oleksandr Rubets (Ukraine)
Bilyi has it on total in my opinion. Capable of a 290kg / 639lb bench press and a 350kg / 771lb deadlift, on his day he is completely unstoppable. I wouldn’t count out Dmitry Inzarkin (Russia) though, he looked off at 2016 World’s and on his day can be unstoppable as well. His Russian national record total is 1,020kg / 2,248lb set at 2016 Russian nationals including a Russian record deadlift of 360kg / 793lb. However, Bilyi has been the form lifter over the past two years and I think he will take out his first World Games title.
Bilyi’s 2016 World Championship winning total of 1,012.5kg / 2,232lb, 10kg below his WR total.
Super Heavyweight (-120kg to 120kg+) – My pick: Oleksiy Bychkov (Ukraine)
Image supplied by the International Powerlifting Federation
The Super Heavyweight category consists of lifters in the -120kg and 120kg+ classes with some interesting names from 1 to 10. It is every lifter’s first World Games which therefore puts every lifter in a similar mental state competing at a meet of this calibre. The -120kg lifters do have an advantage here due to their lighter bodyweight and this is why I’m going off trend and picking Oleksiy Bychkov. Bychkov owns the WR total with 1,125kg / 2,480lb which was done at 2016 World’s and was 35kg ahead of Kazakh Nurlan Yeshmakhanov and fellow Ukrainian Oleksiy Rokochiy. It would be naïve to not mention current 120kg+ world champion, Blaine Sumner (USA), who has the highest Wilks in IPF’s history with 692.2 from the 2017 Arnold Sports Festival. The biggest concern I have with picking Sumner is that he is great at the Arnold, but not so great at a championship where he has to beat other lifters that are close to him, even if he is in the USA. His Wilks from 2016 World’s (in Orlando, Florida, USA) was 651.36, just 2 points ahead of Bychkov but still high enough for second overall. Sumner will need to squat and bench well in order to hold off Bychkov, however, with the mammoth deadlift on Bychkov, we could see a huge attempt for the win.
Squat: -120kg WR – 430kg / 947lb – Standard | 120kg+ WR – 505kg / 1,113lb – Blaine Sumner (USA)
Sumner should have it easy here. His 465kg / 1,025lb opening attempt was all he was left with at 2016 World’s which still accumulated more Wilks points that squat gold medalist in the -120kg class, Oleksiy Rokochiy (Ukraine). Sumner was unlucky in this meet to be left on 465kg as he missed 485kg / 1,069lb twice, first on depth and then the second still looked high but he lost his balance forward and was given yellow cards for missing referee commands. I think anything above 480kg / 1,058lb should seal his first gold of the day, if he is able to hit depth convincingly and consistently. Considering that his WR is 505kg, ~480kg should be a conservative second attempt.
Blaine’s insane 505kg WR squat from the 2017 Arnold Sports Festival!
Bench Press: -120kg WR – 356kg / 784lb – Kevin Jaeger (Germany) | 120kg+ WR – 410kg / 903lb – Blaine Sumner (USA)
Bench is extremely close, but it all depends on what Kevin Jaeger weighs in at. Sumner and Jaeger competed at the 2017 Arnold’s together where Jaeger weighed in at 128.11kg / 282lb and hit a 392.5kg / 865lb bench to smash Viktor Testsov’s (Ukraine) junior WR for a 222.59 Wilks. However, Blaine hit 410kg / 903lb at 170.68kg / 376lb for a 222.55 Wilks. Now, given that both of these lifts were done at the Arnold’s, they aren’t a true representation of what these lifters can do in world meets. Sumner’s best at a World meet is 385kg / 848lb from 2016 World’s while Jaeger’s best in a 3-lift meet is 356kg / 784lb in the -120kg class and 375kg / 826lb at 2017 Bench World’s as a light super. Knowing what Jaeger is like, I think he will weigh in above 120kg and attempt to take the gold from Sumner. I like Jaeger here because he has nothing to lose as he is not competitive on total and bench gold is the only reason he is in Wroclaw.
Kevin Jaeger’s 392.5kg / 865lb junior WR single-lift bench press at the 2017 Arnold Sports Festival.
Deadlift: -120kg WR – 387.5kg / 854lb – Maxim Barkhatov (Russia) | 120kg+ WR 397.5kg / 876lb – Brad Gillingham (USA)
The deadlift competition looks epic with Bychkov needing to deadlift enormously to beat Sumner along with junior European record holder Julian J.K. Johansson (Iceland) looking to take out the open European record and possibly the open WR. However, one name is the star of this list, Poland’s own Krzysztof Wierzbicki! Having just won the classic world championship in June, Wierzbicki is back in an equipped competition and he’s here for deadlift honours. Having only recently moved up to the -105kg class (weighed in at 99.35kg / 219lb in June), he will need to surpass 105kg in order to compete in this division which is exciting to say the least! Wierzbicki has stated that he will be competing raw at this event which is strange as he deadlifted with a suit at the Arnold Pro Deadlift in 2016. He pulled 395kg / 870lb at 94.01kg / 207lb at the Pro Deadlift which would have added 7.5kg to the equipped WR. Hopefully he puts the suit on for deadlifts because he is at no advantage competing raw in an equipped competition, he will not get extra Wilks points for doing so. Wierzbicki’s best raw deadlift is 390kg / 859lb which is currently 2.5kg over the current equipped WR so I’m guessing he will look to surpass this number. Whatever he does, he will put on a show for the crowd and for the rest of us watching on the live stream!
Wierzbicki with his biggest equipped deadlift at 395kg at the Arnold Pro Deadlift event in 2016!
Total: -120kg WR – 1,125kg / 2,480lb – Oleksiy Bychkov (Ukraine) | 120kg+ WR – 1272.5kg / 2,805lb – Blaine Sumner (USA)
This is going to be so close! Blaine must squat and bench well going into deadlift because his track record on pulling for the win is not great to say the least. In 2015, Sumner was up against Andrey Konovalov (Russia) where team Russia pushed Blaine to attempt 367.5kg / 810lb for the win where he needed a minimum of 360kg / 793lb to make Konovalov pull for the win. At Classic World’s in the same year, Sumner missed 360kg to defeat Ray Williams (USA). Team Ukraine will certainly push Bychkov hard to make Sumner attempt a weight he is not capable of. Bychkov is an incredible deadlifter having pulled an easy 375kg / 826lb third attempt to total 1,125kg at 2016 World’s, the current WR total. I say again, Sumner must squat and bench well in order to hold off Bychkov and if he doesn’t, for whatever reason, Bychkov will pull for the win on a lift where he really hasn’t been challenged yet. Bychkov to win on his final deadlift.
Bychkov goes 9 for 9 at World’s 2016 with a 1,125kg total WR through a 422.5kg / 931lb squat (7.5kg below the World Standard), 327.5kg / 722lb bench press and a 375kg / 826lb deadlift.
There we have it, the 2017 World Games are previewed and ready to go! For best lifter I like Sergey Fedosienko who is a lifter who always brings his A-game in meets like this. However he is at a disadvantage by lifting in the first session and will therefore set a standard to beat for other lifters.
Still no word on where the World Games will be streamed, assuming Goodlift again but it hasn’t been confirmed.
The biggest meet in Powerlifting begins on the 24th July and I for one cannot wait to watch!
Until next time, train hard, train smart and dominate on the platform.
Tim Davies – Team PB Powerlifting
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