by Al Myers
WOW! That sums up this past weekend’s World Championships! I was SO IMPRESSED with the lifters that showed up to participate and celebrate the 25 year anniversary of the International All Round Weightlifting Association. 25 lifters entered, with 24 lifters actually competing. The competition commenced with an opening ceremony which included lifter introductions and the playing of the anthems of each country represented. A moment of silence was held in memory of the late great John Vernacchio. This was a “moving moment” to start the weekend festivities.
Competition in the Womens and Mens Divisions was fierce – with newcomer Ruth Jackson winning BEST LIFTER in the Womens Division and Dan Wagman winning BEST LIFTER in the Mens Division. Ruth set several World Records in her IAWA debut as well. Paula Delamata of England was runner-up as the womens Best Lifter, with Jera Kressly taking third overall. However, Jera put up the BEST TOTAL amongst the women, including an outstanding Steinborn Lift of 90 KGS and 130 KG Jefferson Lift.
Dan Wagman is NO newcomer to the USAWA. Dan competed in the 2006 USAWA National Champs in which he did excellent. Dan has a long and strong resume of weightlifting accomplishments, so it is no surprise to me that he has now added the OVERALL MENS BEST LIFTER AWARD at the 2012 IAWA Worlds to it. He is a complete lifter with a strong strength base, and lifts like a man half his age. I did some checking and he would have won the BEST LIFTER even without his age allowance. Chad Ullom gave him a good run throughout the first day, but Chad ended up second overall. Chad had an outstanding meet (one his best meet efforts that I remember) and many other days would have walked away with best lifter honors. Chad’s HIGHLIGHT was his 202.5 KG Steinborn Lift that now resides as the ALL TIME BEST Steinborn Lift in the IAWA, breaking that of 200 KG by Steve Gardner.
Australian’s John Mahon and Sam Trew made their first appearance in the IAWA Worlds outside of their “home turf”. I met both of these guys last year at the 2011 World Championships in Perth. These two young bucks have loads of potential – and I can see them being around for quite some time. I am still marvelling at Sam’s technique in the 1-arm Clean and Jerk. I had to watch him a couple more times to really believe I was seeing what I thought I was seeing! John took the Best Lifter honors for the 20-39 age group. Great lifting guys! The IAWA(UK) brought along quite a group to compete - Paula Delamata, Frank Allen, Graham Saxton, and George Dick. Paula won the Best Lifter award for the 20-39 womens age group, and George took the 60-64 age group Best Lifter award. The seasoned veterans Frank and Graham lifted exceptional as they usually do. I was very glad to see this type of International support in our promotional effort of the World Championships.
I want to congratulate the Ledaig AC (the clubs real name is the Ledaig Heavy Athletics, but I think the way they lift they should be called the Ledaig Athletic Club because they are also very good lifters!) for winning the Team Title. Dave Glasgow has really been a big player in the USAWA competitions over the past couple of years. Dave took fourth overall this past summer at the USAWA Nationals in Vegas, and now he adds a THIRD OVERALL at the World Championships! That’s quite an accomplishment! I know several VERY, VERY, VERY GOOD lifters who have never placed that high at the Worlds. Add in a Team Victory over the host club Dino Gym, and I would say Dave has put himself and his club in the limelight! I would thank him outright in person, but I already know how he would respond, with a ”whatever”. LOL I do have one gripe with him though – he’s stealing members from the Dino Gym!!! Doug and Jera Kressly recently have “defected” from the Dino Gym, and joined up with the club that has a name no one can pronounce. I would have to say Dave that their addition is what gave Club Ledaig the win this past weekend!!! (but well deserved)
After the meet on Sunday, we had a big Neck Lift One-on-One Challenge between the top two Neck Lifters in the World Chad Ullom and Eric Todd. These two have been going “back and forth” with the World Record, so I called both of them out for this challenge to decide it “once and for all”! The show these two put on was beyond description, and worthy of a later blog just covering it. So I’m not going to go into much detail yet, except to say that the 1000 pound “magical barrier” was broken by BOTH OF THEM, with ET coming out on top. More on this story will be coming at a later date.
I have SO MUCH more I could write about covering last weekend, but I promised myself that I would keep this story under 1000 words. I want to finish it by thanking those that were vital in making this event happen. First of all, I want to thank my co-promoter Chad. Without his checkbook I would have lost twice as much money. Second, I want to thank my good friend and training partner Scott Tully for allowing us use of his facility, the Dino Strength Training Center. Scott went out of his way to make room for us for the weekend. Next I want to thank Steve Gardner for announcing and making sure the show ran according to schedule. Chris Bass came all the way from England to do the scoring for us – BIG THANKS! Chris is one of those “behind the scenes” guys who does alot for IAWA and doesn’t get thanked enough. I can’t say enough about the loaders that worked all weekend – Eric Todd, Chuck Cookson, Scott Tully, Tyler Cookson, Matt Cookson, and Mark Mitchell. A meet only runs as smooth as the loaders load – and this was a top notch performance. I want to thank the officials as well – Frank Ciavattone, Chad Ullom, Dennis Mitchell, Frank Allen, George Dick, Thom Van Vleck, Karen Gardner, and Graham Saxton. A premier field of judges for sure. Lastly I want to thank the meet photographer Darren Barnhart for taking over 700 pictures over the course of the weekend. I will make these pictures available to anyone who wants them – and once you see them you will see why Darren needs a “pat on the back”. And last of all I want to THANK THE LIFTERS who showed up to compete!!!