The hallowed surrounds of Brisbane Broncos Leagues Club saw Australia, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga fight out the Regions Championships. The late change of venue tempered especially Australian participation, but the host nation still came out on top, over New Zealand and Nauru.
In the Women’s lifting, all-time great Liz Craven was jaded after a long, stressful year, but still came through with a quality 420kg at 53kg to take out the Best Lifter title. Big results also came in the higher classes, starting with Isabella Thomson avenging her Nationals misfire with a top ranking 440kg at 72kg, over Megan Reed, really a puffy 64kg ., with 422 ½ kg. The 84kgs saw Jewel Tasi of Samoa just hold off Einasleigh Doughty and Natalie Chu, whilst Brea DeJonge, was in a class of her own with 490kg as a Youth.
The Men’s classes were just as competitive. Bi-Tasman Joshua Tukua was clear in the 77kg class with a quality 700kg, but nearly as impressive was Christophe Ang with 672.5kg securing the Best Junior title. Taggart Duburiya (Nauru) and Matthew McKay (Aust) made short work of the 85kg and 94kg classes, while the 105kg class was a three-way battle. Improving Michael Rand came through with a giant last Deadlift of 330kg to pip Joash Teabuge of Nauru, both on 785kg. Nicolai Cushing’s big Deadlift had deserted him and he was left lamenting in third with 770kg.
In the mega-classes, Tonga’s Stanley Cocker was out on his own with 815kg at 120kg, although an ageing Steve Lousich came through with Master’s records in second. But the big battle of the entire contest was Joe Whittaker versus Tony Reinmuth at 120+kg. Joe was the steadier of the two behemoths, eight successful attempts adding up to 930kg. Tony dropped too fast on 380kg Squat and had his grip go on a winning 330kg Deadlift but still totalled a PB 922 ½ kg and continued his march towards Tyron Senituli’s AR 944kg.
Thus ended the 2018 Championships, to a full house for the final session. Next year the Pacific Games in July will be the focus of the Pacific nations, but the Asia Pacific Championships in Hong Kong will also see the Region’s best lifters out in force.
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.
Fifty local lifters in the China Open set the stage for the two sessions of elite international powerlifting in the Asia Pacific Open. There was a full house audience all the way through as 23 of the region’s best lifters competed in the intense atmosphere of 50,000 attendees amongst hundreds of loud all equipped stalls at Asia’s premier fitness show.
As ever Jezza Uepa of Nauru was the standout. A 460kg squat in training the week before wasn’t matched on the platform as he narrowly missed a WR attempt 461kg, but Jezza walked away with a best lifter total of 1017.5kg in the 120+kg class. China’s best Weibin He was not that far behind with a 817.5kg total in the 105kg class while local Dianxiong Lin set the only open World Record of the meet with a 260kg squat in the 77kg class.
Age group World Records did come to Yurika Kepae with a 221.5kg Junior World Record squat in the 100+kg class and Irving Harris with a 226kg Masters 3 World Record squat in the 85kg class. Not far off records and best female lifter was Li Ding of China with a solid total 345kg in the 53kg class.
This was the first international Powerlifting event in China and there will be much more to follow in 2019. Stay tuned.
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