40,000 spectators over 3 days & a packed Powerlifting stadium made the 2014 Australian Raw Championships surely the greatest event ever in Australian Powerlifting history. With the Pacific Invitational international event on Day 2, 7 World Records & an uncountable number of Australian Records were broken.
The absolute standout was Ray Williams (USA) who shattered the all-time World Record Squat with 410kg. taking Blaine Sumner’s then epoch-making 400kg from this meet 2 years ago. A long way from home and shaky in the warmup room, Ray came through when it counted, missing & then getting a deep 410 = 900lbs. There followed a 240kg. Bench & 320kg. Deadlift & the result was a new Total World Record of 970kg. Another titan, Jeza Uepa of Nauru, was not far away from Ray with 930kg. & even attempted what would have been short-lived Squat World Record of 401kg. Back in 3rd place, Brad Gillingham was ailing via a hip injury but was still able to set World Masters I (40 years+) records.
The best Australian male lifter was Stephen Pritchard, trimmed down from Superheavyweight to 120kg. & coming through with World Masters Records of 315kg. Squat & 835kg Total. Not far behind the veteran was the face of the future, Junior Cameron McKenzie, whose 813kg. Total included a World Junior Record Deadlift of 340kg.
Australia’s Women lifters held their own too. Revelatory was Elizabeth Craven, improving all the way up to 350.5kg. in the 52kg. Class. New Champions emerged at 84kg. via Chleo Van Wyk and a 458kg. Total, 72kg. where Kelli Clarke, svelte at 66kg., totalled no less than 408.5kg and down at 47kg. with Priscilla Smoot and 267.5kg. An honourable mention must go to Jessica Gilbert, with 456.5kg Total for runner-up in a high-standard 84kg. class.
When it was all tally’d up the best international lifter was Ray Williams, way out there with 528 Wilks points. Best Australian Male Lifter was Stephen Pritchard 480 points & Best Female Elizabeth Craven 444 points. Best Club Men was Melbourne University & Best Club Women was The Craven Family from ACT.