2003 World Junior Powerlifting Championships
The 21st IPF Junior World Championship was held in Koscian, Poland on September 9-14, 2003. The venue was a large gymnasium, and for most of the week it was a standing room only crowd. Hosting the championships in Koscian was a very big event there. The meet director and staff met every detail, as well as getting a great deal of support from the town itself.
Most of Team USA arrived at the Motel 2000 late Monday night. The hotel was in the small town of Steszew, about 25 minutes by bus from the venue. The trip was uneventful, except for some of the team that arrived from the southern states, whose luggage didn't arrive until wednesday.
The championships kicked off with an opening ceremony that included a parade with a marching band that included athletes, coaches, and town officials. After a short speech by the town mayor, the competition was quickly underway.
The 44 kg class was won by Iryna Trubilina of Ukraine with a 350 kg. total. This was a tight win over Sanna Apuli of Finland, who pulled for the win on her final attempt and missed. Erin Dickey rounded out the class in 5th. Erin has been working hard on her lifting technique and is showing improvement in many areas. With even more experience, she will continue to contend for the U.S. at both the Junior and Open level.
The 48 kg. class had only 4 lifters, but it was one of the best battles of the meet, with Jennifer Maile of the USA up against Oksana Dmytruk of Ukraine. Oksana lead at subtotal, but Jen had nailed 3 good squats and was only back by 15 kg. It takes more than that at the subtotal to top Jen. There is no better weapon in tight competition than a big pull, and after an easy 170 kg. second attempt, she hauled in 2.5 kg. more for the win with room to spare. Jen was happy to repeat as Jr. World champion, and the USA women had their first medal of the competition, a gold.
At 52 kg, Olena Dmytruk of Ukraine, twin sister of Oksana at 48, ran away with the gold medal with 435 kg, a 20 kg. margin. Inna Tairova of Russia was in 2nd, followed closely by Ashley Awalt of the USA. This was Ashley's first international competition, and she performed very well. After 3 good squats ending at 152.5, she made 2 benches and was still in the hunt to place very well. After a small jump on her second deadlift, she made a jump on her 3rd that would have placed her in 2nd. Ashley missed, but earned the US women medal number two and the bronze overall with a 7/9 day. Look for Ahsley to improve steadily and contend for a spot on the Women's Open team in the future.
The 56 kg. class was won by last years 3rd place finisher, Kira Pavlovskaya of Russia. Kira exhibited pure dominance in breaking Inna Filimonova's JWR squat with 188.5 kg, and had a very large margin of victory, 100 kg. This was also the Russian team's first gold medal of the competition. Lifters for team USA in the class were Codi Grubbs and Alyssa Hitchcock. Codi, from Lousisiana Tech, moved up from the 52's and did very well at her first competition in her new class, earning silver overall while winning a 3 way tie for this spot at 377.5 kg, with Agnieszka Leszczynska of Poland and Denisse Molina of Ecuador at the same total. After earning that silver, Codi was a true team player, helping several of her teammates backstage. Alyssa had to drop several kilos to make the 56 kg. limit. It took it's toll on her strength level, but she was able to finish 6th. This class was so tightly contested, Alyssa was only 10 kg. from the same total that won 2nd place. Alyssa is tall for this class, and is considering staying up a class in the future. Alyssa was a member of last years Sub-Junior team to Taiwan as well.
The 60 kg. class was won by Natalya Barybina of Russia at 510 kg. total, a perfect day for the Russian lifter. It looked like a battle for second place between Aigul Gaifullina of Kazakhstan and Anastasya Sukhacheva of Russia, last years champion in this class. Sukhacheva couldn't get a deadlift in and was out of the competition. That left Aigul with silver and lifted Robin Niederkorn of the USA into bronze. Robin put 35 kg. on her total from last year with a 6/9 day. This is Robin's 3rd Junior Worlds, and she is accompanied by her father Bob who is very supportive of her lifting. Robin is much stronger than her lifts show. She has made some progress with her lifting gear, and with some changes to her training, Robin could total in the 500 kg. range soon.
The 67.5 class saw what looked like a tight battle between last years winner, Lesya Guminska, and Zhanna Ivanova, both of Ukraine. Zhanna is the daughter of many time Ukrainian champion Larysa Ivanova. The matchup didn't last very long, however, as Lesya couldn't get a bench in. She started at 120 kg, missed, then mysteriously jumped 5 kg, and couldn't push the weight. This left the door wide open for Ivanova, who hit some big lifts on her way to a 562.5 total and 2nd best lifter of the competition with 584.8 wilkes points. Zhanna is bound for Ukraine's open women's team. This is one of the reasons that the Junior Championships is an exciting competition, because every year future open lifters are showcased, and many go on to become open champions. The silver was awarded to Mandeep Kaur of India, who finished 117.5 kg. behind Ivanova, probably the largest margin of victory of the competition. The USA lifter in this class, Jan Morello of Louisiana State University, had a very solid 8/9 day in her first international meet finishing with 422.5 kg. Jan moved up to the 67.5 class recently and showed steady improvement. With time and continued consistency, look for her in the medals at this championships in the future.
At 75 kg, Yuliya Zaugolova of Russia ran away with the victory by 80 kg. over Yana Petrenko of Ukraine. Yuliya hit an open world record squat for this class at 255.5kg, along with the gold medal bench and deadlift to give her the best female lifter of the meet at 607 Wilkes Points. This was an incredible performance for the Russian, and we may see Yuliya on Russia's Women's Open team before long. Following Petrenko in 3rd was the USA's Kimmie Everett. This Louisiana Tech lifter has made excellent progress over the last year, ending up with 487.5 kg. on an 8/9 day. Kimmie was also the 75 kg. lifter for the USA Women's Open team. With further progress and solid performances, she will continue to be a fixture on both teams in the future.
The 82.5 kg. class saw the USA women earn their second gold medal of the competition. Jessica Watkins was tops in the class, finishing her Junior career in style. Alexandra Murashova of Russia was the runner up, with Tatyana Kudryavtseva of Kazakhstan at bronze. Murashova started the day with a JWR squat of 252.5 kg. Jess motored through 3 good squats as well, ending at 240 kg, a personal best. The tide turned in the bench press when the USA lifter rammed up 3 good benches, ending at 142.5. The Russian was only able to manage her opening attempt of 120 kg. This put Jessica ahead by 10 kg. going into the deadlift. She managed to outpull all others in the class by 12.5 kg, giving her a 30 kg. margin of victory. With the meet over, Jessica wanted a 4th attempt at a JWR deadlift of 237.5 kg. The bar was loaded after a quick pause and she setup to pull, only to stall at near completion. This lift and much more will come soon. All of Jessica's lifts were women's American records as well. Jessica has been progressing quickly the last few years, and look for more to come. This class was relatively deep as well, with 4th and 5th place tying at 562.5 kg, a total that would have won this competition in past years.
The 90 kg. class saw the dominance of Yulia Kurina of Russia. This is Yulia's 5th time to participate on the Russian Junior team, and she didn't disappoint. Known for her squat, she came up with an open world record of 270 kg. with some room to spare. After a PR 135 kg. bench, she pulled a deadlift well under her PR, 210 kg. This gave Yulia a 55 kg. win over Ganna Lytvyn of Ukraine. Following the Ukrainian with Bronze was Anna Sliwinska of Poland with a 520 kg. total. The American lifter in this class was Danielle Miller of Louisiana. Danielle had some early miscues in the squat, but got things together to total 390 kg. in her first Junior Worlds. This level of competition is a big step from lifting at home, and this experience will definitely pay off for Danielle.
The 90+ class saw one of the tighter battles of the competition between Valeria Scheglova of Russia and Viktoriya Olenytsa of Ukraine. In the end, missed lifts cost the Ukrainian, and a Russian lead at subtotal caused Olenytsa to make some big jumps in the deadlift, pulling with a great effort but missing. This gave the Russian women their final gold medal, with Ukraine in 2nd, and steadily improving Hildeborg Hugdal of Norway the bronze medal. The lifter for team USA in this class was Amy Robertson of Indiana. Unfortunately Amy suffered a back injury in the final weeks before the competition and couldn't lift. She still opted to make the trip and was a great support for the team, and made many friends in the process.
The men's competition began Thursday afternoon with the conclusion of the women's lifting. At 52 kg, Sergey Fedosienko of Russia was victorious by a margin of 100 kg. over Jeremy Scruggs of the USA. The Russian was also the best male lifter of the competition, with a world class 608 Wilkes Points. Look for Fedosienko's results in the future, including the Men's Open World Championships in Denmark later this year. After he was done competing, Sergey was seen by many to be bench pressing much more than he made in the competition while trying on a new bench shirt. Jeremy Scruggs missed every 3rd attempt en route to a 6/9 day. These were all relatively small jumps and he still made an excellent total. With more experience and some gear updates, Jeremy will be making some nice progress in the future. Jeremy placed second overall, and received medals in all four lifts. He has a great future.
The 56 kg. class saw the USA win gold, with Demarrio "Doc" Holloway victorious by a comfortable margin with a 585 kg. total. Doc would have squatted more, but bar placement issues caused him to miss his 2nd attempt. Doc also just missed a big JWR deadlift attempt of 257.5 kg. In 2nd was Mitsumoni Koga of Japan at 527.5 kg. Kuat Sarbalayev of Kazakhstan won bronze with 515 kg.
At 60 kg, Alexander Zolov was another dominant member of the Russian team, totaling an eye popping 690 kg. en route to the gold. World records of 260.5 and 180 kg. in the squat and bench, respectively were the foundation for this big total. In a surprise 2nd, Ryun Laniec of Canada totaled 525 kg. to nail down this spot. He missed a few attempts early, but got it together in the deadlift to secure this spot. Grzegorz Kepczynski of Poland won bronze with 520 kg. There was no American lifter in this class.
The 67.5 class has been a shootout in past years, and this year didn't disappoint anyone wanting to see a great competition. Squaring off for top honors were Alexander Gromov of Russia and Caleb Williams of the USA. Caleb is from Pennsylvania and is a freshman at College of Wooster in Ohio. The show that these two lifters put on in the squat was one that you don't see everyday by any means. The top squat was sure to be a JWR, a mark that both lifters have reached in the past year, Caleb at the North American Cup, and Gromov at the Junior Europeans. In the end, Caleb came away with the record at 305, with Gromov at 302.5. With the speed that both lifters are progressing, the other 67.5's better look out. Gromov is known for his bench press, and ended up with 3 good lifts, and a JWR 197.5. This put the USA in a bit of a hole because Caleb missed his opener at 162.5, then made it easily on his 2nd. A 17.5 kg. jump moved quickly, but the judges turned the lift down due to uneven extension. Caleb was expected to outpull the Russian by a good margin. There is no better weapon at the end of a meet than pulling last in the order. Caleb made his second attempt of 270 kg. easily, and Gromov missed his 3rd at 250. The stage was set for Caleb to pull for the win. Caleb got set and began to pull, only to have the bar stall just after it broke the floor. This day was a case of the stronger lifter missing his mark. It was an outstanding competition, and Caleb is sure to win this class in the future. Placing 3rd in this class was Emmanuel Rodriguez of Venezuela with a very respectable 660 kg. total.
The 75 kg. class was another tight one, with Oleksandr Borysov of Ukraine earning his country their first gold in men's competition, edging out Dimitry Dvornikov of Russia by 7.5 kg. The Russian was leading at subtotal, but the Ukrainian had a bigger pull and made up enough ground for the win. Vladimir Klimov of Kazakhstan took the honors at bronze with 700 kg.
The 82.5 class saw some very strong lifting, with the Russian tandem of Andrey Belyaev, who will also be lifting on Russia's Men's Open team, and Konstantin Lebedko. Andrey and Konstantin are very even lifters until the deadlift, where Belyaev outpulls his counterpart by 25 kg. or so. This held true here with Belyaev winning with 882.5 kg, also taking 2nd best men's lifter with 597 points. Lebedko was 2nd with 850 kg, and Marcel Lindholm of Finland was 3rd with 772.5. This class was so large it was broken up into two flights. Steve McLawchlin of the USA moved up from the 75 kg. class, but the class change was made at the technical meeting for the competition, so he had to lift in the "B" flight which generally consists of the lifters nominated with lower totals in the class. This meant that Steve would be finished deadlifting before his primary competitors. This gave the Finn the advantage, knowing his mark before he started. Had Steve been lifting in the same flight, the results may have been different. He also completed a flawless 9/9 day at his first international competition. Look for Steve to progress quickly in his new weight class. Another notable in this class was Ron Hernan of Venezuela. Ron took 2nd at 75 last year in Sochi, Russia to Andrey Belyaev. Ron followed the Russian up a class, but had trouble getting depth in the squat. He did look very strong with some big attempts, however.
The 90 kg. class saw some big weights moved. Top honors went to Ivan Shlyakhta of Ukraine with a big 902.5 kg. total. Ivan is extremely explosive in the squat and deadlift. He had some trouble in the bench missing his first two attempts, but managed to get enough whites on his final attempt to stay in the meet. Michal Wilk of the host country hit a JWR squat of 350.5 that the Ukrainian topped on the next attempt. Wilk took silver overall with 872.5, while his countryman Karol Kopienka took 3rd with 845 kg, which included the gold deadlift of 340 kg. The USA lifter in the class, Matt Glodin, took 5th on a 5/9 day. His main troubles were in the bench, where his weight loss affected the fit of his shirt. A slightly tighter shirt was put on, and Matt did very well. This was Matt's 2nd trip to Jr. Worlds and he will take his experience on to the open category in the future, perhaps at a higher weight class.
At 100 kg, Alexsander Butov of Russia took top honors with 920 kg. Butov missed an attempt in each lift, and it appears that this total is not his limit. Dmitry Vorona of Kazahhstan took 2nd with 845, going to his 3rd bench to get one in, and Andreas Hjelmtveit of Norway was 3rd at 835 kg. Andreas edged out Jeremy Hartman of the USA team on his final deadlift. Hartman had a perfect 9/9 day and a PR 832.5 kg. total. Jeremy is another great example of a first time international lifter doing very well. Jeremy will be back and tough to beat in coming years.
The 110 kg. class saw Vladimir Kotkov of Russia come away with the gold and a large margin of victory with his 912.5 kg. total. The Russian missed only his last squat and deadlift. It appeared as if Roman Voroshylin of Ukraine was the early favorite in this class, but he was unable to complete any of his attempts at his opening squat of 350 kg. His last warmup of 325 appeared difficult and made one wonder if the opener would be lowered. John Brown, another up and coming lifter from Louisiana Tech, stayed in the meet on his 3rd attempt squat, having depth problems on his first two at 305 kg. John was perfect the rest of the meet, finishing in style with an 830 kg. total. He seemed to get better as the meet went on, making a gold medal 330 kg. deadlift look relatively easy. John is also using the hook grip to deadlift. it was John's first international competition also, making the future of team USA look very bright.
The 125 class saw plenty of fireworks between Igor Medvedev of Russia and Yevgeny Yarymbash of Ukraine. These two lifters tied at a huge 975 kg. Medvedev was the bigger squatter and deadlifter. Yarymbash made up for it with his huge JWR 290.5 bench. He also took a shot at Scott Lade's WR 300 kg. bench on a 4th attempt, but stalled just short of completion. Medvedev hauled in enough for the bodyweight win in the end. It's also worthy of noting that the Russian weighed just over the 110 kg. limit. He said that he will be representing Russia in the 110 kg. class at the Men's World Championship in Denmark. Taking 3rd with some consistent lifting was Alexander Hoffman of Germany, totaling 882.5 kg, a PR for him.
The 125+ class had Alexey Pankov of Russia bull through 9 good attempts, ending with a 912.5 kg. total. It was clear that Alexey could have pulled much more. He also used the hook grip to deadlift. Jewgenij Kondraschow of Germany didn't make it very easy on the Russian, totaling 900kg. Oleg Bilichenko of Ukraine took 3rd at 885 kg. There were two American lifters in this class. Emilio Saldierna decided to move up several weeks out from the contest. According to the nominations, Emilio had a better shot to place higher in this class than to stay at 125. Emilio missed his 3rd squat, a jump to a big 815 that was well within his capabilities. He just lost his balance backward while coming up, the weight was moving very easily. His 350 was a toy. That lift, along with his PR 523 bench would have provided the motivation necessary to pull into the medals. Emilio ended his Junior career with a strong showing. Hopefully he will keep pushing into the open ranks. The other USA lifter in this class is Emilio's Louisiana Tech teammate, Josh Chovanec. Josh is the younger brother of former Jr. World Champion PJ Chovanec. He finished one spot behind his teammate, squatting 315, benching a PR 222.5, and pulling 282.5. Josh is young, progressing quickly, and sure to make his mark on future teams as well.
The final team standings for women at the conclusion of the competition were Russia in first place with 69 points, Ukraine in second with 63 points, with the USA close behind with 57 points. In the men's team competition, Russia took first with a maximum 72 points, followed by Ukraine at 55, with the USA in a very close 3rd again with 53 points.
As usual, the competition ended with a closing ceremony and banquet, which was held at a night club called Club Gotham, which was just outside of Koscian. The banquet began with a presentation from IPF officials, thanking the competition organizers for putting together a great event. That was followed by top team and best lifter awards. The presentation was followed by food, drinking, and dancing into the night. The banquet is always the place to make friends from lifters across the world, and this was no exception.
Sandra Perron was head coach for the third year, assisted by Trey Cunningham, Greg Simmons, Larry Maile, and Mike O'Donnell. Traveling alternates and helpers were Andre Johnson, Clint Edwards, and James Townsend.