Travelling for 6 months or more - being away for over 9 months and having only 6 weeks of hard training is definitely not the best preparation for a major weightlifting competition....
Waking up on the morning of the comp and barely being able to move, talk and breathe due to the flu is probably not good either!
Unfortunately waking up on Friday for day One of the Champs this was exactly the situation I was in!
For the very first time the IAWA Worlds were being held in Christchurch, New Zealand - and due to the distance and some teething problems with the organisation and venue, entries were less than optimal and so I decided to come back and bolster NZ's presence at the event. And what the comp lacks in numbers I am sure it will make up in quality with several excellent lifters from the States, Oz and the UK here to put on a strength spectacular!
Indeed the list of the masters side of the comp reads like a 'who's who' of all-round weightlifting and old time strongmen - Steve Gardner, Dennie Habecker, Frank Allan, Al Meyers amongst others...
As it turned out due to the lower than expected numbers I would be the only open lifter in the Under 75Kg class and so claimed the title of World Champion for the second time (assuming a total is registered - meaning I have to lift across the two days). It's never the way one wants to win a title - particularly at this level, but at the end of the day as strength athletes we do our 'talking on the platform'...Plenty of guys talk big about being strong but either fail to place or fail to even show up to events to verify this. And so at least at this event and in my class I was the only one doing any talking!
Without competition in my class I decided to do my best - put up some good world class lifts and see whether I'd be in the running for the overall best lifter at the conclusion of the comp.
The day began with the lifting of the womens and masters classes in which I had a lot of fun returning to the refereeing chair for the first time in 3 years (the last time I competed and officiated at an all-Round meet).
And in the afternoon it was time to see just how much this little ol' body remembered from the 'before time'...the long, long ago!
First lift was the One Hand Dumbell Swing - a classic old time stronman lift and one of the foundation lifts of modern weightlifting. Having never done this to max, nor in competition I was absolutely rapt to come away with a swing of 50Kg - probably the highest lift by bodyweight for the day and one of the best swings overall.
Next it was on to the Two Hands Snatch - one of the Olympic lifts and a lift that I enjoy but have never been all that strong on. Again after a long time out of the game I was really happy to put up 75Kg (over my current bodyweight) with relative ease.
And the final lift of the day was one of my favourites - The One Arm Barbell Deadlift. I love this lift. It is basically a test of: grip strength, pain threshold and sheer determination. There are also many variations in the way it can be performed. For example many of the All-ound lifters witha powerlifting bias lift in front of the body, most pure All-Round Lifters, Rope Pullers and Strongmen straddle the bar and lift it between the legs and a few of the competitors even lifted beside the body in a 'suitcase' deadlift.
I ended up lifting the 3rd best One Handed Deadlift of the day with a good, world class weight of 140Kg (over 2X Bodyweight!). Peter Philips of Australia in the 105Kg class lifted 160Kg - a weight that I only just missed on my third attempt, and James Gardner of England in the 90Kg class put up the best of the day witha fantastic 190Kg!
Unfortunately with little training and the callouses on the thumb not quite being up to scratch the skin failed before the will did and with blood streaming down my thumb and a rapidly opening wound only asking to get worse 160Kg would have to wait for another day...perhaps the Gold Cup World Record Breakers meet in a few months!
At the conclusion of Day One's lifting I'm placed 3rd overall behind Peter Philips of Australia and my good mate James Gardner of the UK. we shall see how Day Two pans out...stay tuned!