Ramstein hosts powerlifting championship

Betsy Allen
435th Services Squadron

***image1***Thousands of pounds were lifted, squatted and pressed in the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Powerlifting Championship May 15 at the Ramstein Northside Fitness Center.
Twenty-seven powerlifters, including Air Force and Army members, from Belgium, United Kingdom and Germany competed in this event.
After a grueling seven-hour day of full-effort lifts, celebrations and some defeats, overall male and female lifter, weight-class winners and team winners were announced.
A team trophy went to the community with the most points accumulated – this year’s team trophy went to team Ramstein.
“Ramstein’s powerlifting team had an outstanding turnout. Along with some very experienced members, several new lifters showed up for the challenge,” said Troy Saunders, Ramstein powerlifting team member.
The overall best male lifter was Robin Riley, Ramstein, and the best female lifter was Melissa Duigou, Spangdahlem.
First place women’s weight class winners included: Duigou; and, Sara Bright, Bernice Dawes, Sue Wilbur, from Ramstein; and, Annie Norris, Belgium. Men’s first place weight class winners were: Saunders, Robin Riley, Rey Duazo, Dennis Obergon, Ramstein; Casey Southern, Spangdahlem; Davis Smith, Kleber; Mike Rogers, Vilseck; and, John Svalina, Wiesbaden.
“Six certified, official judges scrutinized the lifters through the three different events: squat, bench press and dead lift,” said Jacqueline Habel, the 435th Services Squadron’s Fitness Center Special Events coordinator. “A deadlift, the last lift of the competition, is weight lifted from the floor to hip level with knees locked and shoulders back at the completion of the lift.
“The USAFE Powerlifting Competition followed International Powerlifting rules,” said Habel. “IPF rules are specific and numerous to ensure a fair and safe competition.”
Lifts must be taken in a predetermined sequence, so lifters began with the squat, a lift in which the lifter performs a knee bend, while holding a barbell on the shoulders, then returns to a standing position. Some lifters squatted close to 600 pounds.
Next, the participants showed their arm and chest strength with the bench press competition, before finishing with the dead lift event. Each competitor was surrounded by spotters and judges for each lift. The spotters ensured safety, and the judges determined if lifts were successful or unsuccessful.
Three attempts were allowed in each category, and the best valid attempt on each event counted toward the competition total.
There’s not an Air Force sports-level powerlifting championship; however, Ramstein’s team members will still have a chance to compete.
“Now the team is getting ready to go to the Amateur Athlete Union Military National Powerlifting Championship held at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., June 26,” said Saunders.