By Franklin Wilson
Just over a year ago, the weekend of May 4th & 5th, 2019 to be exact, the powerlifting duo of Carlos Petterson-Griffith and Ms. Junica Pluck left these shores to compete at the StrongFit competition held in Barbados.
Pettereson-Griffith won gold in the powerlifting segment, while Pluck, who became the first Guyanese woman to compete at such an event, achieved silver on the distaff side but their efforts all came to naught as Barbados is not a member of the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF), thus their participation without the expressed permission of the Guyana Amateur Power Lifting Federation (GAPLF), was deemed illegal.
The duo were found to be in violation by the Ed Caesar led GAPLF’s constitution (Section 12, Article 1, point 4) and IPF’s constitution, Article 14.9. At the time of the ban last year, Petterson was at the peak of preparations for his debut appearance at the World Classic Powerlifting Championships which was set for Helsingborg, Sweden.
But that all came crashing down to ground zero as the GAPLF had zero tolerance for the contravention of its rules and that of the IPF which would have offered guidance on the eventual penalties meted out to both Petterson-Griffith and Pluck.
Both athletes were obviously disappointed at the time at the level of punishment their disobedience brought on but they hadn’t a choice but to accept. It is now well past the 12 months period and they are both still awaiting official word from the GAPLF as to their future in the sport granted, Covid-19 has brought things to a standstill at the moment.
Petterson-Griffith to re-set and aim for Worlds again
While he has accepted that he erred and he cannot change the past, Carlos Petterson-Griffith says he would use the challenges of the past 12-months to boost his resolve as he is still eager to represent the Golden Arrowhead at the Worlds.
The confident athlete says he has learnt his lesson and while he has not returned to training consistently, he is assured that greater days are ahead for him in the sport. He shared that while he was banished from the powerlifting platform, he did compete and won the Guyana Strongman competition as well as successfully defended his heavyweight title at the Guyana Amateur Body Building and Fitness Federation Senior Championships, last year.
“I cannot gain what has already been lost; yes my aim towards worlds is still there just that due to this pandemic situation everything has been on a pause or a pending position thus far. But soon I’ll resume training and re-focus on bigger things as my aim is to become the next world champion and be one of the greatest in the world.”
He believes that all athletes have to in every sport must keep the focus and battle to keep their heads above water during these challenging times so that when they are back to some degree of normalcy, “We can all be back with a bang.”
“I must say that Mr. Jamie McDonald and Fitness Express have never stopped giving me that support, encouragement and motivation. I am always being encouraged not to give up or drop the sport with all the sweat, blood and tears that I have already put into it. Yes, it has been a disappointment that I have not been able to compete for the past year but that aside, I was capable enough to be on the body building stage as well as the strong man competition; so I was able to keep in shape. But the return to the powerlifting stage for me is the eye of the tiger. Other than that, discipline for me is everything.”
Meanwhile, Junica Pluck informed, “I’m more focused mentally, if wasn’t for covid19 I would’ve competed already and the next step would’ve been competing internationally.”
“Absolutely I’m more focused, so much is happening. A day don’t pass me thinking how I miss competing. I can’t wait to get back out on that platform,” Pluck stated.
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