UK Arnold 2022 - Equipped Bench Press

Sunday at the UK Arnold was given over to the dark art of equipped bench press with 16,000 euros in prize money up for grabs. Just as with the previous days, this competition was scored on GL points.

The women kicked off and big numbers went on the board straight away. Agata Sitko of Poland needs no introduction at this point. She might not have been around for years but she’s certainly packed a lot into a short career. She opened with a slow and but steady 200kg, already a personal best. Hildeborg Hugdal of Norway is one of the biggest benchers in the IPF and she laid down a marker with a massive 215kg. Upset though for the favourite, Sonja Stefanie Krueger who missed her 195kg opener and did not manage to get one in.

Sitko ultimately went 3 for 3 and hit the junior world record and open European record of 220kg. This proved impossible for anyone to catch and Hugdal was didn’t manage to improve on that massive opener. She didn’t let the crowd down though and she was close with an attempt at the biggest bench ever in the IPF – 235.5kg. Maj Rames of Denmark had a good day, pressing 155kg for third place and GB’s Ellie Steel and Poland’s Zuzanna Kula took the rest of the prize money places.

This was a hard act to follow but the men’s class threw some monster weights around.

Poland’s Rafal Zalewski in the 93s opened with 290kg – it looked difficult to touch and was a slow press out but it was enough to stay ahead of the German shw, Rene Gross, who took 310kg for a spin for his first. Top ranked bencher, Norway’s Per Marius Hole however, struggled a little when his opening attempt of 350kg just would not go. Huge relief for him when he got it on his second attempt and shot straight to the top of the table and, even though he missed his third of 370kg, this was enough for him to go home with 4,000 euros.

Zalewski held onto second place with 297.5kg and Gross managed to fend off Finland’s Eetu Kumpulainen with a strong looking 325kg third. Kumpulainen got all his lifts in and quietly slid up the rankings finishing on 260kg for 4th place. Meanwhile, British newcomer Keelum Walton finished in the money, with a huge personal best of 315kg for 5th place.

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