Arnolds 2019

What a brilliant weekend! If you’re a fan of physical culture I’d suggest making the trip to the Arnold Sports Festival at least once. The magnitude of this event is huge and there really is something for everyone. I can only imagine the amount of planning and organising that goes into an event of this scale but from a competitor/spectator viewpoint it went down seamlessly and it was highly enjoyable.

I thought the Olympic Weightlifting competition was run extremely well. A big well done to Gauteng Weightlifting for putting this together. I feel it’s events like this that are going to help grow the sport further in South Africa. It was fun, there wasn’t an overly traditional/intimidating vibe to the event and it exposed the sport to a lot more people. As a competitor, I didn’t really feel like anything was missing. There was enough warm up kit for everyone and the series of lifts was communicated effectively to us. The sessions after us (we were first) did run behind schedule but this seems to happen at every event and is largely due to the uncertainty of how long each lift can take. Again, well done to GW! We’ll be back next year.

Now onto the performances:

Mike came into this event with the goal to just get some competition practice in. He’d been dealing with some tendonitis for a large part of the beginning of the year so it only left us about 5 weeks to prep full lifts for this event. He wasn’t looking to go for any massive PB’s but he didn’t want to go in super conservative either and just look for 6/6.

He opened his snatch at 83kg (+-95%) and nailed it. I don’t think he’s had a more convincing first lift before. After that he went to 87kg (100% of his max. He’d only hit it once before; 2 weeks previous) and nailed that as well. From here we decided to go for 90kg. On a good day I feel like he’s capable of this and a bit more. It wasn’t to be. He slightly under extended and caught the bar just forward at the bottom. He put up a great fight but ended up losing it in front of him. All in all, it was a good performance on the snatch. A competition PB but definitely left the 90kg on the platform.

Next up was the clean and jerk. He’d been a little more inconsistent with this lift in the build up so we were just going to see how he felt on the day. He opened at 105kg (+-92%) and hit it comfortably. He looked stronger out of the hole than he had in weeks. From there we went to 109kg (+-96%). Again, he was really strong out of the hole but he got called for a press out on the jerk. It was definitely a legitimate red light but there were a lot of other worse press outs that were given on the day. Some go your way and some don’t. From there we went up to 110kg. I thought he was capable of hitting it and I wanted him to have a bit more rest. He ended up over pulling and letting the bar drag him to the back of the platform. Ask him for the video. Funny as hell but a no lift.

In the end I think it was a satisfactory day for Mike. A competition PB in the snatch but 3/6 and we definitely left some numbers on the platform. Well done bru!

Personally I came into this competition just wanting to hit 6/6. Strength wise I was feeling great leading up but I’d been a bit inconsistent with my lifts in the last couple weeks. Specifically my clean and jerk.

I opened my snatch at 90kg (90%) and under pulled and lost it forward. I was feeling uncomfortable lifting in a singlet for the first time so I decided to stay at 90kg and get it right on my second attempt. Nailed it. For my last attempt I went up to 95kg (95%) and hit it. 2/3 for the snatch. Not what I’d wanted but happy to have got that after missing my opener.

I opened my clean and jerk at 115kg (+-96%) and got it comfortably. My clean and jerks were feeling more comfortable than they had in a very long time. From here I went to 120kg (100%). My clean went up very easily but I didn’t breathe properly at the top and started seeing stars. I ended up rushing the jerk and pressed it out horribly. I wanted more time to rest so I bumped my final lift up to 125kg. I knew that if I sorted out my breathing I’d hit it. And I did. Heaviest clean and jerk I’ve hit in a couple years and only 5kg off my lifetime best.

4/6 was not what I wanted going into this competition but it was actually so much fun so I’m not upset with the result at all.

Mike and I each walked away with a bronze medal which was a pretty sweet cherry on top.

Martin and Nikki from Fetish S & C were the only other two lifters from KZN and they both did really well. Martin went 6/6 in what I think was his best competition to date, by a long shot. Nikki picked up a SA masters record in the clean and jerk. Well done guys.

It was a great weekend and hopefully next year we’ll see more representation from KZN up there.

Onwards and upwards!

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