THE AWPC WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS REPORT
Only a few of the 29 lifters that traveled all the way to Orlando to compete at the AWPC World Championships 2019.
Well here we are. A week after the AWPC World Championships in Orlando, USA and the team is still talking on Whatsapp and I think probably will be forever more!
I have to say this was probably one of the most wonderful teams I have had the pleasure of being with and the camaraderie was loud, constant and all with best and honest intent.
It isnt an easy thing to do – first qualify, then do the British to fight for your place and then go to a foreign country long haul and try to produce results you have at home. For a lot of them they have to compete 3 times in a matter of months and hold that peak or backing off and then resetting for another peak for 4 or 5 weeks is really tough, particularly in the side of tested powerlifting.
A Whatsapp group was started to help everyone stay in touch and go over any travel, rules, kit etc issues plus a Facebook page – the Facebook page quickly become dormant after the Whatsapp group started! We had a full mix of people – from Teenagers and Juniors to Masters and a pretty even split between the male and female competitors. Sadly, due to a much loved co-promoters death in the USA, the numbers at the Worlds were down from other years but our British team had the formidable task of having to try and battle against the top 3 lifters of countries like the USA who have massive Nationals and therefor the standard was high for our guys to compete against. We also had India, Mexico, USA (obviously), Canada, Ireland, Korea, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan amongst others there representing their countries. This was not an easy competition so to walk away with the overall country trophy was pretty astounding and damn I was pleased for them.
Frankly, I dont do a medals count during the competition, nor do I watch to see if GB will win through the comp either as my interest is in each person hitting the numbers they want and having the best experience possible to facilitate them in competing as close to optimal as possible. Travelling long haul is hard to compete – and #i mean flights of 7 or 8 hours +. Jet lag, changes in food, sleep patterns, different environment, different equipment and not really knowing your place in the “universe” of that competition in that country all has an effect on results. General expectations are that you never hit PB’s at long haul internationals – so you play a reasonably moderate game. However, the amount of people who hit PB’s and took new World records was unbelievable and I stand by the fact hat due to the level of team support – many of the negative factors I mentioned above were negated.
The difference in equipment is also a factor – having front loaders instead of back loader monolifts, soft covering on the bench, different platforms etc all play a part of what you are used to on not used to. What did put people off a bit was the 25kg bench bar – which in fact feels exactly the same as an Eleiko and is actually better weighted, just psychologically different. I have switched between 25kg bench bars for years in the US and really you just need a few sets and its fine. I did partially solve the mystery of the “omg its a 25kg bench bar” when I was told by one of the comp organisers that he had found one of our team using a 25kg SQUAT bar for warm ups on the bench – so I suspect that this may have been used by a few others……! He wouldnt tell me who it was as he knew the piss taking would continue FOREVER. On the other hand – these things are easily done when you are presented with different types of kit in unfamiliar surroundings. I still remember the introduction of the Texas whippy bar (a very long time ago now and introduced at World Championships) and many people having terrible trouble on deadlift, falling over (including me), staggering about the platform, being sent hurtling backwards etc due to the acceleration none of us were used to – so if you think about that, I would say Team GB dealt with a 25kg bench bar really well indeed and with British finesse.
We did have some of our team that felt it wasnt the best day at the office for them. I wish that there were the right words to explain that what they did was actually beyond what most mere mortals would ever do. That the anxiety of being at a World Championships and being potentially very stuffed plus impact of long haul travel weighs heavy until you get a few long distance comps under your belt and know what to expect (no amount of warning helps – it is one of those things you have to experience yourself). I hope they look back and see the what in fact they achieved, the medals they won, the pb’s they may have got in other lifts and the competition they had to face. Its all very well going to some one off comp or managing to qualify for some invite only comp but this is a world stage for a word title with the distinct possibility of becoming very undone for many reasons discussed above. It is an “unsafe” environment emotionally and psychologically with many things which will knock you off balance very easily. It is also harder going to competition which you “may” win and may have to fight than to a competition you know you have no hope of winning which is the case with many of the invitationals. So, World and also European level internationals are miles above many of the “invitationals” that people chose especially if they are close to home even on a maintaining equilibrium basis.
We saw immense stories of overcoming adversity from previous injury, literally getting a major injury 3 weeks before the Worlds, having traumatic personal events happen RIGHT before the competition, overcoming past issues at competition and also seeing Team GB overcoming events on platform which would have knocked others completely sideways BUT THEY KEPT GOING. One of our lifters exploded so fast to punch the bar out of the racks on squat, the bar rolled and dropped which was the first time it has happened to them – and that lifter carried on and lifted the rest of the day. A few missed their 1st and 2nd attempts but FINALLY got it on the third which I can tell you from personal experience is a huge mind f%%K which most people dont recover from – but they got their 3rd.
So we had many stories, many tears of joy, relief, disappointment but above all there was a sea of blue team kit right there at the front cheering like hell every time a British team member stood on that platform and even now writing this I am welling up thinking about it.
I am adding the list of our team competitors at the end here and I would ask you if you would please, to make an effort of congratulating our team for an exceptional and forever memorable group effort as well as each person giving it absolutely everything they had – and it showed. Thank you all for what you did, everything you did for eachother, your effort and determination to succeed regardless of the circumstances. I am incredibly proud to have been part of the team and personally treated with great kindness. Here is to you all – go well and see you all soon xx
|Robyn Vaughan (female)|