The 2004 South African Powerlifting Championships

The bench press and the deadlift

When I did my opener about a week before the nationals, my old Inzer Blast shirt creaked and groaned, indicating that it had enough and that it was due for retirement. I could see that it might not have another press left in it. This left me with a dilemma, as nobody wants to experience a blowout on  their opening attempt. For that reason I decided to open raw and only to put the worn-out old shirt on on my second attempt. Seeing that there was no need to push things raw, I opened on 180kg, a weight that I can do about eight to ten reps on.

Dewald was in a similar situation and also opened raw on 165kg. He took his second attempt on 200kg and then took a 210kg on his third attempt. This was a big PR for him and it went up very easily. His bench has really improved a lot recently.

I put the battered old Blast shirt on for my second attempt and prayed that it would last. It did. I took 235kg (20kg SA record in the SHW division) and it flew up without a squeak. For my last attempt I put on my new Inzer Rage shirt that I got mere days before the competition. This shirt is new on the market and you can expect big things of it in the future. Anyways, I took 270kg but the hand-off left the bar way too high, almost over my face. Before I could try and adjust it properly, I got the START command and had no choice but to try and bench it. Needless to say I lost control of the bar on the way down. Ah well, next time. In the picture you can see me sporting my new Rage shirt just before attempting 270kg.

Seeing that I've already broken two SA records thus far and not wanting to screw up at that point, I decided to open light on the deadlift. I took 300kg and was hardly psyched for the lift. My mistake: I paid no attention to my grip and and had the bar slip out of my hands moments before the lockout, even though the weight was very light. First time that this has ever happened to me. I would lie if I said that I was not worried about bombing at this stage. I obviously took 300kg again on my second attempt. This time it went up just as easily, but my grip only just lasted. Weird. Got the lift at least. I was so glad not to have bombed after this lift that I didn't particularly worry about what happened on the third attempt. I took an easy 310kg and it went up fine but I moved my one foot just before lockout and got two red lights. Surprisingly, this time I had no issues on my grip. Ah well...

Dewald's deadlift went rather better than mine. He opened on 280kg and got it. He then got a good lift on a 300kg, which is a 10kg PR. Nice work. He finished his series by attempting 310kg and had a surprisingly good lift, almost managing to lock it out. Dewald ended on a 830kg total, 20kg past the previous SA record and in the process got one of the best Wilks scores of the day in the entire competition. My total of 910kg was 40kg past the old SA record. It felt great and what makes it feel even better is the fact that I know that it could have been much better, had everything gone according to plan. That really helps with my confidence going into the World Championships in November.

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