Preview – 2013 Pan-Am Powerlifting Championships
(Photo by Zac Cooper)
As the United States celebrates July 4th this weekend, the Powerlifting world will be celebrating the growth and prosperity of numerous Powerlifting federations in the western hemisphere. The 2013 Pan-American Regional Championships will be the largest in history. With 13 nations participating, the competition will be deep and fun to watch.
The country of Venezuela will also be celebrating their 202nd independence day this weekend (July 5th)! With a total of 5 male lifters attending the championships; 3 will be lifting on July 5th. This particular weekend should provide great dialogue, excitement, and fun amongst the lifters of many nations.
July 2 – Meetings and Open Ceremonies (I hope opening ceremonies are on Ustream.)
July 3 – All Women Lifters (Competition begins at 9:00 EST each day.)
July 4 – Men 53-74kg Classes
July 5 – Men 83-93kg Classes
July 6 – Men 105-120+kg Classes & Banquet
“Gone are the days of Team USA showing up and walking away with all the medals. We have some of the best lifters in the world showing up, and it’s going to be a battle!” – Robert Keller, NAPF President and Meet Director
What to expect
Meet director Robert Keller has a few special activities planned this weekend. At 6:00 PM on the 4th of July, two buses will take lifters to the magnificent City of Celebration to enjoy professional music, live entertainment, and a fireworks show set to the sounds of Disney.
The Ustream feed has also been enhanced. According to Robert Keller, “We are going to have four cameras, quality sound, and fast internet upload speeds. It is going to be like watching TV. We have really upgraded.”
In the Women’s division
Wednesday morning will set the tone for the championships with a battle in the 47kg class between Maria Luisa Vasquez Siquae (Puerto Rico and upcoming World Games Lifter) and Tania Saverdra (Ecuador). Vilma Vargas Ochoa (upcoming World Games Lifter) and Michelle Cevallos (Ecuador) will be in that same flight (but 52 kg). This should be the most talented first flight of Women lifters in the history of the Pan-American Championships. Others to watch: Isabel Maldonado (57kg-Ecuador), Cicera Tavares (63kg-Brazil), and Giselle Delgado Costas (84+kg-Puerto Rico).
Anchoring the USA team is Collegiate and Junior lifter Mariah Hamm (@riahgoeshamm). Mariah is a University of Wisconsin lifter with successful international experience, including several medals at last years Junior World Championships. The majority of the USA team consists of masters’ lifters, including the legend Regina Hackney.
From a team standpoint, Ecuador may have all five lifters with Wilks scores over 500, all with extensive international experience. That leaves several teams scrambling for second place.
In the Men’s division
Ecuador is also bringing their best male lifters! Their international elite lifters Jose Castillo and Leon Franklin are coming (confirmed by Robert Keller). This does seem a bit odd, considering both are listed in the nominations for the World Games in three weeks (same for women lifter Vilma Ochoa). Ecuador is serious about winning this meet!
Timing does not favor the United States bringing their outstanding lifters. With USAPL Men’s nationals, Raw/Classics nationals, and World Games dates so close to the Pan Americans, it is hard to field a team of elite lifters. However, Team USA, coached by Mike Zawilinksi and Zac Cooper, still found several experienced and outstanding lifters to compete.
The team is anchored by Mike Zawilinski (USAPL Athletes Rep) in 120+kg class. Will we see a 700+lbs bench this weekend? Mike will have his hands full with the big squatter, William Schouten, of the US Virgin Islands. The United States is also bringing several Masters and Classic lifters including some very respected names in the powerlifting world: Alex Galant, Robert Crawford, Jim Yakubovsky, Bill Clayton, and Dennis Cieri.
Women’s Open Team Title: Ecuador (USA 3rd)
Women’s Open Outstanding Lifter: Vilma Ochoa (Ecuador)
Men’s Open Team Title: Ecuador (USA 2nd)
Men’s Open Outstanding Lifter: Jose Castillo (Ecuador)
North American Powerlifting Federation (NAPF)
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