The 2004 South African Powerlifting Championships

The annual SA Powerlifting Championships took place in Durban, KwaZulu Natal on 29 and 30 July 2004. This year's nationals  turned out to be the biggest and best powerlifting competition that I've ever competed in. The reason for this is probably because of the fact that the 2004 IPF World Championships is to be held in Cape Town, South Africa in November. This meant that everybody who's anybody in powerlifting in SA competed in order to try and make the national team for the Worlds in November. As a result, the standard was the highest that I've ever seen at any IPF competition ever held in South Africa.

So how did things go? Quite well, actually. I regained the super heavyweight title (my third in four years) and in the process broke three South African records namely in the squat, bench press and the total. Dewald, my training partner, won his first national title by winning in the 110kg division. He also got a South African record in the squat and on total.

This is how the competition went for me and Dewald:

I decided to open quite conservatively on the squat, using my trusty Inzer HardCore suit. I took 340kg and nailed it. Three white lights. Easy. The current SA record was 360kg. As a side comment the picture below probably won't help my popularity rating with the ladies! My wife says that I should add an age restriction to this page because I look like something out of a horror movie.

Dewald recently tore his suit and had to borrow a Titan Champion. As a result, he had to open heavy, as he was afraid that he might not get depth. He opened on 320kg and squatted so deep that his bum almost touched the floor! Good lift. In the process he broke the old SA record of 315kg by 5kg.

For my next squat I put on my brand new custom-made Metal Viking V-Type squat suit, supplied by Ano Turtiainen and his wife, Minna, in Finland. I have to say that this squat suit is probably the best investment that I've ever made in powerlifting gear. The support that this thing supplies is just amazing. If you're interested, you can get yourself one from their online store here. In my not so humble opinion, this is the best squat suit ever approved by the IPF.

Anyhow, I took 375kg on my second attempt, which was 15kg past the old SA record. Once again, I nailed it and got another three white lights. As you can see in the picture, we were allowed to use a monolift, but the swing arm was secured in position and we still had to walk out after unracking.

According to IPF rules, the chief referee has to inspect a lifter's gear immediately after a record-breaking attempt.

Dewald had bad luck after his opener. Both his second and third attempts at 330kg went all the way down but both times he fell out of groove on the way up. It was obvious that he could move the weight, he just couldn't control the groove. This picture was taken on his third attempt (330kg) on the way up moments before he got stuck. It was VERY close or he would have got it.

I was tempted to shoot for 400kg on my last attempt but decided to play it safe and took 390kg. This squat felt just like the 375kg and I was sure that it was mine but disaster struck when coming out of the hole when I stepped backward with my one foot. Bummer. Luckily the spotter, Phil Niemand, was wide awake and pushed me back into groove and helped me up. Well, I didn't get the lift but at least I got to feel how 390kg feels. I'll save another attempt at it for the Worlds in November. As you can see in the picture, depth was not a problem.

Continue on to the bench and deadlift.
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