The 2018 Nationals was once again held at Fitness Show Melbourne, with 70 top lifters invited to the fitness industry’s showcase in the southern city. Some stars were away at the Worlds in the USA but there was indisputable quality in every division here.

The Women’s started off with Wendy Chan as usual out on her own in the 48kg class with an AR 357.5kg. The 53s and 58s saw up and comers Stacey Rogers and Giuliana Nannetti credible at 355 and 392.5kg winners, but the fireworks began in the 64kg class when hot favourite Schae Zarew lost multiple kgs on close technical misses, only for Tara Gripton to come back from 12 months of injury with a 20kg PB via 450kg to snatch victory on the last Deadlift.

Another last-gasp winner was Selina Wilkie. Labouring in the vineyards of the B Group gave Selina the drop on Susana Iannella via a 177.5kg Deadlift and 20kg PB. Isabella Thomson also went for the last Deadlift win but her technique did not hold on a giant 190kg. Up in the heavier classes, Natalie Chu was yet another massive PBer, going from 410kg all the way up to 450kg to win the 84s. At 100kg Nolene Kingi arose from the dead, an AFL injury a few weeks before seeming to spell the end of lifting for a long time, but Nolene guts’d out 505kg with one shoulder, before heading off to surgery and orthopaedic limbo. And finally came the very promising Brea De Jonge at 100kg+, age 16 and an Australian Open Champion with 482.5kg.

The Men’s events produced just as many surprises and breakthroughs. The first twist was Raymond Wong coming out of hibernation with a 550g AR at 62kg. Then came the peripatetic Karl Di Falco, adding another Powerlifting title to his many Bodybuilding crowns, with 635kg outclassing the rest of the 69kg field. At 77kg Sam Schepis stunned the Powerlifting world with a 37.5kg PB and 697.5kg Total, leaving a shell-shocked Alvin Lim in 2nd despite Alvin posting what once upon a time would have been an AR 680kg. Matthew Tinson trimmed down to 77kg to add to the establishment of a new order in the 77s, with him pushing once-were-warriors Joey Zinghini and JP Cauchi into 4th and 5th.

At 85kg a sense of normalcy returned with Gary Young cementing his top ranking for the year with a 712.5kg win, albeit with improvers Ben Sellars and Hussein Alaouie serving notice in second and third place of challenges to come. At 94kg Facebook friends Khoi Trang and Matthew Bartholomew were set for the ultimate showdown, but Hung Phan decided to trim down from 105kg to steal their thunder with a decisive 740kg, 20kg margin win. The 105kg class saw another new force emerge, Nicolai Cushing’s 787.5kg including a big 342.5kg Deadlift that decimated the AR in that lift. That put paid to Will Phillips’ SubTotal lead on the way to 770kg, with more Juniors on the way up, Michael Rand and Jackson Myles in 3rd and 4th.

At 120kg Cameron McKenzie was out on his own at 865kg but jaded, with a hard 345kg a shadow of his 363kg Deadlift record. The Supers were also a one-man show, Tony Reinmuth sailing through AR 370kg Squat, and 230kg Bench before dropping a 330kg Deadlift at the top, that still leaves him with 920kg and on the road to the injured Tyron Senituli’s immortal 944kg AR.

When the dust had settled, Tara Gripton and Tony Reinmuth were the overall Best Lifters. JPS (Men) and Melbourne University (Women) took out the Team titles.

Thus concluded the 2018 Championships. 2019 will see a new format, with a stand-alone 3-day Powerlifting event brought forward to June. This is to match the October World Championships date and to open up our premiere event to many more lifters.

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