What follows is a report of Sunday's lifting - the 100kg class and above. Forgive me if I missed any highlights, a lot happened.
The competition was based in Bournemouth at the BIC venue, a large building with a lot of facilities. Apparently costing £3,000 a day to hire, the organisers obviously hadn't spared any expense.
We arrived early so as Boar and Tony could weigh in. We then moved onto the warm-up area and waited for the flights to be announced. There was quite a lot of confusion between the organisers at this point and things were changed around several times, at one point the 110s were going to be split into seperate flights based on openers and the super heavies were to be lifting earlier. However, common sense soon prevailed and the order of flights was decided as 100s, 125 and 140s, 110s and 140s+.
In the 100s most of the talk was around the openers of Craig Coombes - 420/280/300 - enough to total 1000 kilos without getting any other lifts. Apparently Coombes had weighed 118kg three weeeks out from the competition but had made the weight - given the 24 hour in he was probably the best part of 110 if not more come Sunday.
At this point it became apparent that rumours of stricter judging on the Saturday were true - lots of squats were getting red lights and a couple of lifters were on the way to bombing. From my point of view this made things far more enjoyable to watch - nobody likes seeing high squats passed no matter how much weight being lifted.
Some highlights in this flight included James Copping squatting a British Junior Record of 317.5kg, smoothly and deep. Craig Coombes managed to get his opener of 420 in, which looked a bit of a fight - his jump straight to 455 after was a bit surprising, unfortunately he had problems standing with the weight so we didn't get to see if he could have squatted it.
Next came the 125s, with the stand out lifter being Delroy McQueen who went 420, 440 and then missed 455. Del had weighed in at 111.1kg, so it seemed that he got his weight slightly wrong but didn't seem to concerned with it. Tom Chandler squatted 300 on his third lifting after missing 290 twice on depth.
In the 110s Boar and Tony squatted well securing PBs of 285 and 280 respectively. Glenn Wilson became a casualty to the stricter judging and bombed out of the open competition. Adam Kitchener managed to get white lights for his third lift of 285 to stay in the competition. Bolton squatted 400 in briefs and wraps, Wightman squatted an impressive 412.5 whilst another big favourite Jim Nuttall bombed out on 415 after failing to make depth on any squats. James 'Bulldog' Beattie, who had been scheduled to open on 462.5, pulled out after an accident during which he dumped a 400 warmup, thankfully nobody was injured.
Onto the benching - some of the 100s had been resting for the best part of two hours by now, with each flight doing each disciple in turn it was turning into a very long day. Highlights here included an incredible 310 Junior World Record by Dave Wightman, which is also the heaviest in a competition by a Brit (Dean Bowring has done 305 in BWLA). Andy Bolton missed 307.5 twice after a 290 opener. Glenn Wilson pressed 250 in the 110 bench competition whilst Steve Middleton pressed 246 in the open category for the British record. Craig Coombes opened on 280 in the 100s, pressing it for a new British record. It looked like a hard rep - he went for 307.5 next and missed it. There were a few surpised faces when his final lift was announced; 340 kilos! He switched shirts at this point, but only managed to press the bar a few inches. Boar and Tony again came up with the goods pressing 205 (securing third place in bench competition) and 192.5 for PBs respectively.
By now the day was really getting long! It was almost 5PM and lifting had started at 11AM. In the 100s Coombes opened with an easy 300 and then a 320 for a European Record total. Copping pulled 280 on his opener and then was red lighted for movement of the knees after a good battle with 300, the 280 was good enough to give him a Junior British Total record. Delroy McQueen opened on 350 and then pulled 365 before missing 375. He actually managed to break the platform when putting down his second lift! This resulted in a 20-30 minute delay while a new platform was hastily constructed.
Next came the 110s and super heavies, Boar and Tony pulled well with 260 and 292.5 PBs respectively. Wightman pulled 300 before being red lighted on 317.5 twice for what appeared to be not getting the shoulders back, despite the weight looking easy.
Next came the part everyone was waiting for: Bolton's world record attempt. In the warm-up room Bolton had been practically clean pulling 340 - he opened on an easy 390 and skipped his second lift. 460 was loaded onto the bar, the crowd went wild and Bolton stepped up. He pulled the weight quickly and smoothly - it was past his knees and heading for what looked like a comfortable finish; people were clapping - it really did look like it was all over. Unfortunately, fates conspired against Bolton and he couldn't hold onto the bar before getting the down signal. There was no doubt the strength was there - the pull looked far smoother than his 455 world record last year. One must wonder whether such a long day took its toll on Bolton and indeed everyone's deadlifts in general - lifting began at 11AM and finished after 7PM.
Nevertheless, there is no doubt that it was one hell of a show with some brilliant lifting. The stricter judging made it far more enjoyable to watch. Eventual winners were Coombes (100s), Middleton (110s), McQueen (125s), Bolton (140s+). Coombes won best overall lifter whilst Copping won Best Junior, pipping Adam Kitchener's slightly higher total by virtue of lifting at 8 kilos lighter.
For me, the lifter of the day was Dave Wightman - his benching was incredibly strong and there's no doubt that'll there's more to come; at 23 he has the potential to become one of the worlds best. Craig Coombes was ridiculously strong, nobody can argue with 1020 at 100 - but he looks like the type of lifter who could easily bomb due to depth issues or going too wild on openers.
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