by Al Myers
I’m finally back home and adjusting to the time changes from my recent trip to Perth, Australia competing in the IAWA Gold Cup. It’s a long ways to travel – but was well worth it as I had an outstanding time there. Trips like this one creates memories far beyond the meet experience. I was very fortunate on this meet trip that my wife Leslie and daughter Molly traveled with me. It was the FARTHEST they have ever flown before! Now for some “reflections” on the 2015 IAWA Gold Cup.
First of all, meet promoter John Mahon did a phenomenal job. He had carefully planned a three day event for the lifters. The first day consisting of the Gold Cup, the second day consisting of a Heavy Events competition, and the final day consisting of the very first ever international Old Time Strongman Challenge. I will elaborate more on a later date on the OTSM and Heavy Events events in a blog, as today I want to stay focused on the Gold Cup. John had a tremendous support group from his fellow Australian All Rounders to put on this event. I know from my meet promotions that you can’t do it all by yourself – and how important it is to have help from others. Peter Phillips really “stepped up” to help John. Peter is a true warrior with the iron and besides being a great lifter, is a great person. Peter competed ALL THREE DAYS, helped set up and tear down each day, hosted all of us at his house one night for an unbelievable Australian Barbie, took a day to join us for a tour of the farming country, loaded and officiated, and even celebrated his birthday amongst the weekend’s festivities! Sam Trew has been a very involved lifter in IAWA events these past few years and worked hard “behind the scenes” setting up the competion venues. Robin Lukosius kept everything organized and on schedule, as well as taking lots of pictures of the events (THANKS Robin for the photos!). Others Australians very involved in this event were Anne Whitehead and the legendary John Patterson (I plan to do a story later on John). I was glad to see other Australian lifters like Hercules Perryman, Bill Kappel, Monica Cook, and others I’m sure I’m forgetting to mention. The overall hospitality shown by the Australians was superb and way beyond expectations.
Injuries kept several out of the Gold Cup, but the lifting was outstanding. This was a true international event with the USAWA and the IAWA(UK) being in attendance with lifters competing. My daughter Molly was the youngest lifter and performed great with her lifting. I was actually more nervous when she was on the platform than myself. She set new records in the Clean and Push Press with 55K, and then set the heaviest women’s Front Squat on the books with a 92.5K. USAWA President Denny Habecker picked a difficult Gold Cup lift with the 2-Bar Deadlift, and after getting some balance issues out of the way in his warmups, lifted a solid 145K. Veteran English lifter Steve Gardner again showed his strength with his fingers, lifting a big 100 KG in the Middle Fingers Straddle. Steve was busy all day with lifting and announcing the competition. Karen Gardner looked really on good form with a big Continental Clean. Graham Saxton rounded out the English crew, and showcased his pulling strength with a big dumbbell deadlift. I got to spend alot of time over the week with Graham as we were all sharing a rental on a beach house. Graham probably got more sun exposure than he has for years and kept getting redder as the week progressed. By the end of our stay we were referring to him as BIG RED!
Besides the Howard Prechtel Award, the Australians awarded a couple of special awards which I thought added a special local flare. Peter Phillips won the Award for breaking the oldest IAWA record on the books with his fine 122.5K Bench Press with feet in air. This record breaking performance broke a mark previous held by a 1989 record of the late Howard Prechtel’s! The Gold Cup was the “brainchild” of Howard’s – and it gives me pleasure to see us recognize his memory every year with it. Records are meant to be broken – and I have always said if it means something to someone to break one of your records that even makes your record even more noteworthy. I’m sure Howard would have liked to see Peter take down this old record of his. Also – a Wilf Chapman Award was given to the lifter who broke a record by the greatest percentage. I knew Wilf when he was alive, and he was a dynamic personality. I found this award to be fitting in his honor, as he was always complaining about the IAWA correction formulas! The award went to Sam Trew with his record setting performance in the Left Hand Hacklift.
The Gold Cup concluded with a very fine banquet at the Belmont Recreational Center. Much thanks and appreciation goes to those who prepared this fine meal. Great lifting – great food – great drink – great conversations – the true essence of the IAWA!
MEET RESULTS (PDF) – IAWA Gold Cup 2015