What you’re in for…
Estimated Read Time: 10 mins
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are just under 11 weeks away from the biggest event on the Powerlifting calendar, the World Games, an event run every 4 years, like the Olympics. For European nations, the Equipped European Championships provide an opportunity for more competition experience before the big show in late July or to test new lifters on the cusp on being competitive on a world level. All eyes are on the Russian male team at this meet as they were only allowed two nomination places at Equipped World’s last year, therefore only two Russian males will be attending the World Games. The fallout here is that the lifters that did not go to World’s last year will need a qualifying event for this year’s World’s, hence a really strong male team from Russia has been sent to this meet.
In this blog, we head to Malaga, Spain to showcase the lifters to watch at this year’s Equipped Europeans!
Victoria Karlysheva (Russia, -57kg)
Defending champion and bronze medalist at World’s last year, Victoria Karlysheva is the next big thing in the -57kg class for Russia. Last year at this meet she hit a massive 220kg / 485lb squat junior world record which is just 2.5kg below the open world record held by compatriot Inna Filimonova. Last year at World’s, she attempted 223kg / 491lb having missed 220kg on depth just prior, but could not even stand straight for a start call. She is also the current junior world record holder in total with 527.5kg / 1,162lb which is equal to Inna’s best ever equipped total done way back in 2007, however, Anna Ryzhkova is currently number 1 in Russia with a best total of 542.5kg / 1,196lb total back in 2013 as well as hitting 535kg / 1,179lb at World’s last year.
Karlysheva’s 527.5kg junior world record total performance at the 2016 Equipped Europeans!
Marte Elverum (Norway) vs. Ankie Timmers (Netherlands) in the -72kg class
This battle is what I’m looking forward to the most in the female program, Marte Elverum vs. Ankie Timmers in what looks to be a European rivalry that will continue for many years! I watched this event last year with Elverum needing an enormous 235kg / 518lb deadlift to equal Timmers on total and win on bodyweight, she smashed it and won her second open European title. The 235kg deadlift was also a European record which was standard since the weight classes changed in 2011. She has since increased that record to 240kg / 529lb at World’s last year for what turned out to be a deadlift gold, ahead of IPF Hall of Famer Priscilla Ribic (USA). She has seen a massive increase in her deadlift since competing in the Pro Deadlift at the Arnold Sports Festival and it is turning her into a serious competitor for a total gold on the world stage.
Timmers is a quiet achiever but is certainly capable of big performances on her day. Timmers is certainly known for her bench press hitting 160kg/352lb at this meet last year and this nomination is equal first with Ukrainian Antonina Marchenko. In recent events, Timmers finished third at the Raw Europeans in March with a 455kg/1,003lb total and a 577.5kg / 1,273lb total at Equipped World’s. Considering that Timmers has never totaled over 600kg / 1,322lb and with Elverum hitting 607.5kg / 1,339lb at 2016 Equipped World’s, Elverum is a strong favourite.
This will be the most interesting battle in the entire female competition, do not miss this!
Elverum pulls 235kg to win the 2016 Equipped Europeans!
Hildeborg Hugdal (Norway, 84kg+)
Another Norweigan powerhouse, Hildeborg Hugdal holds quite a legendary status in the IPF being the first female to cross the 500lb mark in bench press (equipped) when she pressed 227kg/500lb at
2014 World’s in Aurora which is still the current 3-lift bench press world record. Recently she competed at the 2016 World’s where she unfortunately bombed on squat but managed to pull herself together to press 230kg/507lb which is an unofficial 3-lift bench press world record and 5kg below the largest bench press by female, currently held by Sandra Lonn (Sweden). She also hit 232.5kg / 512lb not long ago in a local meet so she looks good to extend her bench press world record pending she gets at least one squat and deadlift in. She’s in a tight battle between Hungary’s Agnes Szabo and Ukraine’s Inna Orobets at this meet, all within 7.5kg of each other. Hugdal is the weaker deadlifter so she is certainly at a disadvantage on total, very typical of big bench pressers in Powerlifting.
Hugdal’s current 3-lift bench press world record back in 2014, 227kg/500lb.
Onto the men now and one nation dominates the nominations, Russia.
Konstantin Danilov (Russia -66kg)
Current world record holder in squat with 326kg / 718lb , Konstantin Danilov returns to international competition following the Russian ban on male nominations at international events. Now been demoted to the number 2 Russian -66kg lifter behind the improving Sergey Gladkikh, Danilov will be using this meet with the aim of getting back to his best having been up and down on total for 5 years now. He didn’t compete internationally at all last year but did do Russian nationals in April 2016 where he hit his nomination of a 317.5kg / 700lb squat, 200kg / 440lb bench press and a 277.5kg / 611lb deadlift for a 795kg / 1,752lb total pretty comfortably. He also looks to be comfortably in the lead ahead of Hassan El-Beghitti (France) who will provide an enormous deadlift in this class hitting 305kg / 672lb at Equipped World’s last year.
Danilov’s best total in an international competition is 798.5kg / 1,760lb, will we see 800kg / 1,763lb from Danilov for the first time at this meet?
Danilov totals 795kg at 2016 Russian Nationals.
Sergei Gaishinetc (Russia, -74kg)
In my opinion, the only lifter that can take down the great Jaroslaw Olech (Poland), Sergei Gaishinetc also returns to international competition as the defending champion in this meet with a competitive 855kg / 1,884lb total. He got extremely close to the almost untouchable Olech in 2015 with an 865kg / 1,906lb total, missing 340.5kg / 750lb on his last deadlift to win.
Gaishinetc is the current world record holder in deadlift in this class with 327.5kg / 722lb but has pulled 330kg / 727lb at 2016 Russian nationals. Considering he doesn’t have a close threat to him at this meet, and he’s next meet will be Equipped World’s later in the year, he could attempt something big.
Gaishinetc’s nomination for this meet, 867.5kg at 2016 Russian nationals.
Sorokin vs. Vasyukov in the -83kg class
It’s an all-Russian affair in the -83kg class with current world record holder in squat, Alexey Sorokin battling 2016 national champion, Evgeniy Vasyukov. Sorokin is a fairly popular name in the Powerlifting scene with his squat world record currently at 375kg / 826lband his Russian record standing at 380kg/837lb and with very few lifters squatting over 360kg / 793lb, he looks to be unchallenged with the record for the foreseeable future. The one issue with Sorokin is that his bench press and deadlift are not as amazing and this means many championships slip through his fingers in deadlift. Sorokin has one European championship to his name and two World championships back in 2009/2010 but since the weight classes changed his highest placing was 3rd back in 2015.
Sorokin’s most recent competition, 927.5kg at 2016 Russian Nationals, including 380kg unofficial world record!
Vasyukov is much less known and the main reason is that he is a big risk for Russia to send to a championship. He has been to Equipped World’s in both 2013 and 2014 and has bombed at both events. 2014 being the hardest pill to swallow as he was competitive on sub-total going into deadlift but had lockout issues with his 315kg / 694lb opener. Since then he has competed at Russian nationals and seems to be a much better lifter. He’ll bench a lot more than Sorokin but both are similar on deadlift so don’t be surprised if there are a few kilograms in the result, or a lifter wins on bodyweight. Vasyukov is quite close to the bench press world record as well (255.5kg / 563lb) which is currently at 265.5kg / 585lb held by Andriy Naniev (Ukraine) so we could see an attempt at that at this meet.
This will be extremely close with both lifters needing to deadlift well to win!
Vasyukov’s 2016 Russian National championship winning performance, 928kg!
Walgermo vs. Belkesir featuring Erik Gunhamn in the -105kg class
Much like Elverum vs. Timmers, the -105kg class offers the chance for two European powerhouses to battle with a championship on the line and in Europe, it doesn’t get much bigger than Stian Walgermo versus Sofiane Belkesir. Both lifters are the Kings of Powerlifting in their country with Walgermo taking the reins from Carl Yngvar Christensen while Sofiane Belkesir is a great representation of the sport in general.
Walgermo’s 2016 Europeans performance, 1,025kg for a 25kg win over Belkesir.
Walgermo comes into the event bombing his last competition, Equipped World’s, missing 285kg / 628lb on bench. He managed to scrape a deadlift gold with Belkesir attempting 367.5kg / 810lb for the win but being left on 342.5kg / 755lb. However, Walgermo is certainly capable of 1,020kg / 2,248lb+ in most competitions while Belkesir has only recently surpassed 1000kg/2204lb so be prepared for a big deadlift from Belkesir to take down the championship from Walgermo. Belkesir is the 2014 and 2015 world champion in deadlift with 360kg / 793lb on both occasions so he certainly has potential to take the title from Walgermo.
Belkesir’s nomination for this meet with 1,000kg at the 2016 World Championship.
Although not competitive on total, one of the best deadlifters in the world will be on display at this meet, the deadlift hero himself, Erik Gunhamn (Sweden). He did this meet last year and pulled an incredibly easy 360kg / 793lb followed by a close miss at an enormous 392.5kg / 865lb! The open world record in this class is 387.5kg / 854lb which has been a long standing record held by the Luxembourg great, Anibal Coimbra. Three months ago he competed at the Swedish nationals and hit 362.5kg / 799lb before attempting 375kg / 826lb and losing grip, but a world record does not look far away!
Gunhamn attempts 392.5kg for third at last year’s Europeans!
Gunhamn's performance from the 2016 Europeans including a laughable 360kg deadlift!
Goriachev (Russia) vs. Bilican (Belgium) in the -120kg class
We have a huge battle for the -120kg European Championship with Ivan Goriachev returning to international competition after bombing at 2015 Equipped World’s. He has a very characteristic Super Heavyweight wide squat stance which was his down fall at 2015 World’s as he had lots of issues with depth. Goriachev is the current Russian champion through a 407.5kg / 898lb squat, 302.5kg / 666lb bench press with a 330kg / 727lb deadlift. This 1,040kg / 2,292lb total is his nomination for this meet and is 2.5kg below his international best total.
Goriachev’s 1,040kg nomination at 2016 Russian Nationals, 407.5kg squat (3:28), 302.5kg (14:40) and 330kg deadlift (20:30).
His main competition is the pride of Belgian Powerlifting, Orhan Bilican. An enormous squatter and bench presser, Bilican comes into this meet from dismally bombing at 2016 World’s after missing 430.5kg / 949lb three times before not continuing with the meet. With the rise of Kevin Jaegar (Germany), Bilican’s hopes of another bench press world record are very quickly becoming a dream rather than a reality, however, his squat is certainly world record standard having hit that standard in 2015 (430kg / 948lb) only to later have that record be made unofficial after he bombed on bench. He gives me the vibe of being an all or nothing lifter, either can be amazing to watch, or incredibly disappointing to watch. Will someone finally take home that squat world record? Only one way to find out!
Bilican’s 430kg squat world record which was later rescinded due to bombing on bench, 2015.
Volodymyr Svistunov (Ukraine) the next 1200kg+ lifter in the Super's?
In 2013, Ukraine had two Super Heavyweight lifters which were competitive on the world stage, their number 1 lifter was defending open world champion as a junior, Viktor Testsov. A 26 year old Volodymyr Svistunov was the B lifter, but after Testsov’s ban in 2014, Svistunov has certainly stepped up and is now one of the most competitive Super Heavyweight lifters in Europe! A well-rounded lifter, Svistunov has been around for a long time with his first international competition being back in 2009. Now, his nomination of 1,160kg / 2,557lb is certainly up there with the best in the Europe, only second (based on form) to Andrey Konovalov (Russia) who became the third lifter to surpass 1,200kg / 2,645lb on total with 1202.5kg / 2,651lb in 2016. Carl Yngvar Christensen (Norway) is still the King of Europe with his total record still standing at 1,230kg / 2,711lb. Carl will be at this event but will be sitting his category II referee examination. Svistunov’s best international total is 1,132.5kg / 2,496lb so by his nomination he looks to have improved immensely!
Check out his nomination total from Ukrainian Nationals at this link, featuring some squat and deadlift mastery from junior lifter Oleksandr Rubets (-105kg): https://youtu.be/dp4G2TgDAVM
Lastly, one of my favourite deadlifters, Julian J.K. Johansson (Iceland) will be stepping back into equipment after his performance in Reykjavik in January where he pulled 365kg / 804lb raw. His best in equipment is 380kg / 837lb which is 10kg off CYC’s deadlift European record, we may even see a world record attempt, currently at 397.5kg / 876lb held by Brad Gillingham (USA).
Julian J.K. Johannsson with his 380kg gold medal winning deadlift at World's, 2016.
The open championships begin on Thursday May 11 with the open -59kg and -66kg men beginning at 1pm Malaga time and the open -47kg and -52kg women beginning at 4:30pm Malaga time.
Until next time, train hard, train smart and dominate on the platform.
Tim Davies – Team PB Powerlifting
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