History was made in our prime time session on day four of the Classic Powerlifting World Championships.
The 76kg class was absolutely stacked with the current classic world champion, the current equipped world champion, the current junior world champion and a former multiple time world champion all vying for position at the top of the tree.
Canada’s Jessica Buettner opener her squat at 205kg – only 5.5kg below her own world record – and made it move like the empty bar. She took 213.5kg for her second and pushed on for a world record 218.5kg for her third, giving her an early lead. Vilma Olsson of Sweden, in her last year as a junior, extended her junior squat world record to 210kg to take the squat silver and Iceland’s Lucie Stefanikova took the bronze and a European record with 207.5kg from the B group. Poland’s powerhouse, Agata Sitko, wasn’t far behind with 202.5kg but Kimberly Walford of USVI struggled, only getting her first squat in.
Bench was where Sitko really came into her own, opening nearly 30kg ahead of anyone else and taking 137.5kg for a new world record. It moved like an empty bar and 145kg for her second wasn’t much slower. 150kg was a step too far however and we wondered about the strategy – picking up a 0.5kg chip at this stage could have proved useful.
At sub-total, Sitko led Buettner by 24kg but we all knew that the Canadian Forklift held all the cards in deadlift. Olsson was 20kg behind the front runners and 30kg ahead of the rest but the deadlifters were on the march and this soon turned around.
The first round of deadlifts saw some incredible numbers. Buettner opened with an amazing 240kg. Not enough to take the lead just yet but it certainly closed the gap. Sitko took 225kg for her first and broke the open total record into the bargain. Walford and USA’s Dayna McNeal both pulled 230kg for their openers and Olsson slipped back to fifth place.
Agata took 235kg for her second to take the junior deadlift world record but it looked like there wasn’t too much more left to give. Jess asked for a deadlift world record of 239kg and absolutely smoked it. This was a great strategic move – had Sitko missed her second, this would have put Buettner ahead on bodyweight. Walford, in third place, pulled 237.5kg but came under increasing pressure from McNeal who hit and impressive 242.5kg.
In the final round, Sitko was first out and pulled another junior world record of 237.5kg, adding another 2.5kg to her total – now standing at an incredible 585kg – giving Buettner a mountain to climb on her final dead. Walford impressed with 242.5kg – right on the limit and McNeal’s attempt at 252.5kg to come passed didn’t quite come off, handing the bronze medal to Walford. Buettner looked serious as she came out for 261.5kg an attempt at the biggest female raw deadlift in IPF history, regardless of weightclass. The packed crowd went nuts as the bar flew off the floor and then stalled at the knee. But only momentarily – it accelerated again and went to lockout in a brilliant display of strength from Canada’s pride taking the deadlift world record and the world championship title.
Eagle eyes spotted Agata in the audience, having run around after her last deadlift to cheer Jess on, even though this meant that she would lose the gold. When asked, she replied “Of course. She’s my idol”. This is the spirit of powerlifting. Jessica Buettner took the win but there were no losers here today. Long may these two battle on, pushing each other to ever greater heights.