Guyana’s most decorated powerlifter ‘Big’ John Edwards powered his way to a bronze medal at the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) 28th World Men’s Masters Championships which took place in St. Catharines, Canada between September 26 and October 1, 2011.
Were it not for some good Australian and Puerto Rican friends Edwards might have missed out all together since there was a mix up with the timings for his lifts in the Masters M1 120kg class.
Edwards, who has also dominated at the Caribbean and Pan American levels thought that his lifting time was 10:00hrs when indeed it was one hour earlier, his friends got on to him in his hotel room and he was able to come out and compete despite missing his first lift.
Such was the anxiety in getting into the right frame of mind before lifting that Edwards’ second lift at 332.5kg / 733.16lbs failed and this was so because he did not get the chance to warm up.
Facing the prospect of possible disqualification, the big Guyanese veteran stuck to the task of doing himself and country proud by successfully squatting the same weight which ended up giving him the bronze medal.
By the halfway mark in the Benchpress, Edwards found himself in 6th place trailing the stronger athletes with a best bench of 220kgs / 485lbs well below his best of 501lbs.
Nevertheless displaying steely nerves of a true champion Edwards stepped up a gear for the deadlift with a best lift of 292.5kg / 644.96lbs propelling him from sixth into third place overall behind eventual winner Michael Mastrean of the USA (Squat 385kg /842.92 lbs; Bench 260kg / 573.3lbs; Deadlift 315kg / 694.57lbs) and second place Francis Rousseau of Canada (Squat 340kg / 749.70lbs; Bench 255kgs / 562.27lbs; Deadlift 285kgs / 628.42lbs).
Edwards took the bronze ahead of Mark Giffin of Canada (4th), Zoltan Kanat of Czechia, Tony Chard of France and Shigeki Minami of Japan.
Interestingly, Edwards was selected for drug testing and not the first or second place lifters in his class.
Meanwhile, another sure medalist – Winston Stoby – was not able to travel to Canada due his passport not being returned to date by the Canadian High Commission here. Despite the assurances of the local Canadian High Commission Personnel facilitating the application documents that once sent by courier to Trinidad and Tobago (both the President – Peter Green and Stoby’s documents were delivered and signed for on the September 5) it would be processed within 15 working days before the scheduled departure date of September 25. The two officials are still not informed as to the status of their passports.
GAPF officials have checked with International Federation officials who have indicated that other countries have suffered a similar fate with their documents not being processed in time which resulted in many athletes missing the World Championships. Some received Canadian visas after the championships concluded.
According to a GAPF President Peter Green, a look at the final results for Stoby’s category Masters M2 74kg had the winner Carlos Lewis with a total of 630kgs as compared to Stoby’s latest recorded best lifts at the local Masters Championships this year of 660kgs or even the 650 set at the CAC Championships in 2010.
“The obvious conclusion is there for all to see. Even more telling was his chance to set a new World Record for the existing Deadlift of 265kgs/584.32lbs with his own personal best of 275kgs / 606.75lbs which he had also set at the CAC Championships in Puerto Rico last year lifting in the Men’s Open. This is heartbreaking for someone who has been in training since March of this year. Efforts will now have to be directed towards next year’s World Championships billed for Killeen Texas.”
“Nevertheless Guyana has made its announcement on the World stage of Powerlifting with the exploits of John Edwards, following on the heels of Dawn Barker capturing the Caribbean Heavyweight as well as North American tournament of the Americas titles smashing the Squat records twice as well as being the first ever Caribbean female lifter to set a Commonwealth record two times.”
The achievements of the Powerlifters have been made despite the lack of Corporate support in smaller sports bodies like Powerlifting which has definitely being doing its bit to keep the Golden Arrowhead flying high on the World Stage.
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