by Al Myers
This is not intended to be a meet report, but rather “my take” on the 2011 IAWA Gold Cup held last weekend in Burton on Trent, England. First of all, initially I was not planning on attending this meet since I’m going to the IAWA World Championships in Australia next month. But when my good “mate” (that’s american for friend, haha) James Gardner invited me to stay at his place I could not turn him down. And after the fun-filled weekend I had, I’m glad I went! I made a quick trip out of it, only staying for the weekend. I call a trip like this “pulling an Art” – after the the MAN OF STEEL Art Montini and his reputation of going oversees to a big meet and only staying for the meet itself. This weekend was EXTRA SPECIAL for me since I had my oldest daughter Emily traveling with me. This was her first weightlifting meet EVER, and she only agreed to compete because that was the stipulation I had for taking her along!
Now for a few general words on the Gold Cup. This meet is one of TWO big IAWA competitions held each year (the World Championships is the other). It was started years ago by Howard Prechtel as a meet to celebrate World Record Lifts by World Champions. Initially, the only lifters who were eligible to compete were current World Champions. A rule from the beginning in the Gold Cup is that the lifter must OPEN on his first attempt at a World Record in the lift of his choosing. Also in the beginning each lifter could chose only one lift to perform their World Record in. You could call it the “ELITE OF RECORD DAYS” . Since then the stipulations have been lessened and anyone can compete in the Gold Cup, regardless of whether they are a current World Champion or not. If a lifter can not find a World Record they can break, they can enter the Silver Cup instead, and go for a National Record, or even just a personal best. This way no one is excluded from this prestigious international event. Also, at several Gold Cups of recent, time has allowed the lifters to have a second choice lift which they can perform as well.
I felt the turnout for this meet was very good - 25 lifters took part. Our IAWA President Steve Gardner was the meet promoter, and as he always does, promoted an exceptional meet. I was glad the meet was held at his club in Burton, the Powerhouse Gym. I like to experience the feeling of lifting in other all round clubs. You feel “connected” to their involvement in All-Round Weightlifting. Several outstanding records where set by the lifters in attendance. One of the neat things about a Gold Cup is that you get to see lifters perform the lifts that they are the best at, and in turn get to witness some great lifts. The Gold Cup is not like any ole record day where the lifters go about their business lifting and doing records in a chaotic fashion. One platform is set up and when it is YOUR time to lift you get it all to yourself while everyone else watches. You perform all three (or four) of your attempts back to back, and the stage is all yours. This allows one to watch EVERY LIFTER and gives each lifter a little extra recognition. Like I said earlier, the Gold Cup is the ELITE OF RECORD DAYS. The experience is WAY MORE than just setting a World Record, as it is about being part of something special offered by the IAWA. I highly recommend that every All Round lifter go to the Gold Cup at least once in their life.
Now on to the lifts done. I have done a lot of thinking what I would consider the BEST RECORDS of the day were. This was a hard decision for me because I was very impressed with EVERY lifter, but I did come up with my TOP FIVE. My vote for the NUMBER ONE GOLD CUP RECORD was done by James Gardner. James first lift was the newly formed IAWA lift, the Turkish Get Up. In this he did the MOST ever done with a very fine lift of 70 KG. But that’s not the lift that impressed me the most. It was his second choice lift, the One Hand Fulton Bar Deadlift. In this lift he lifted an UNBELIEVEABLE 96.5 KG (212 pounds). This record is now the most EVER lifted in this lift, exceeding Frank Ciavattone’s mark of 210 pounds. I consider Frank the BEST ONE HAND GRIP LIFTER in the history of the USAWA, so this really says something about James’ achievement in this lift. Another lifter and lift that really impressed me, and was my second pick, was Mark Haydock of England. Mark performed a 210 KG Front Squat breaking the previous World Record in this lift held by the current IAWA World Champion Chad Ullom. I officiated Chad when he set his mark, and I remember how deep he took his front squat when he did it. I was glad to see Mark break Chad’s record by taking his front squat just as deep. My “third choice” in best records goes to England’s Steve Sherwood and his Ciavattone Grip Deadlift of 180 KG. That is pushing 400 pounds for a lifter who is 60 years old and only weighs 80 KG! What a grip!! Later that night at the Gold Cup banquet Steve was inducted into the IAWA(UK) Hall of Fame, and it is no wonder why. He lifts poundages that I would not expect him to lift. He second choice lift of a 140 KG Fulton Bar Ciavattone Grip Deadlift was impressive as well. Number 4 on my list goes to John Gardner and his 140 KG (309#) middle fingers straddle deadlift. I would call John the “sleeper” in this group of great lifters because I didn’t expect a lift like that out of him. That is a WORLD CLASS finger lift and on top of that, it appeared to me to be a submaximal effort on his part. He made it look way to easy! The last of my top five goes to the Scottish lifter Andy Tomlin and his 185.5 KG left handed deadlift. Breaking 400 pounds in the one handed deadlift is always very impressive to watch, and currently there are only a small group of IAWA lifters who can do it. To make Andy’s lift even that more impressive, is that he suffered a back injury a week earlier and wasn’t sure he would even be able to compete! I will tell you this, later that night at the banquet when he was feeling really good (after a few pints of instant pain relief) he was really talking big – and issued a 2-man one arm deadlift challenge against Chad and myself at next year’s Gold Cup in Scotland. He recruited Steve Angell to be his partner before even asking him, and of course I couldn’t turn him down even before asking Chad to be my partner. Before long another “team” joined in this challenge as well (Mark Haydock and James Gardner). So it looks like the 2012 Gold Cup is setting up to be a BIG SHOW of international competition in the 2-man one arm deadlift. I did remind Andy that Chad and I have the BEST MARK ever set in this lift (done last year at the 2010 Gold Cup) of 800 pounds, so they better be in form “to bring it”.
I could go “on and on” about last weekends trip but I’m going to stop at this. I especially want to thank Steve Gardner for his efforts in promoting this outstanding meet. It was a meet I will never forget.