IAWA Age Adjustment Changed
by Al Myers
The long standing debate on whether the age adjustment should be changed was resolved this month at the World Council Meeting held in conjunction with the IAWA World Championships. This discussion started last year at the World Meeting, which was held in England, by Wilf Chapman of Australia. Wilf felt that the older lifters were not being compensated adequately by the age adjustment. After discussion, the membership felt that this needed to be looked into further before any changes would be made.
Steve Gardner and Graham Saxton of England, and myself of the United States, conducted separate studies on the age adjustment. Both of our studies supported that the age correction formula that has been used is very inadequate for lifters over the age of 65. These studies were presented to the membership at the Meeting this year, and finally, this issue has been resolved! The USAWA and the IAWA(UK) have always used different age correction formulas, but the IAWA has previously used the USAWA formula, which gives 1 percent per year starting at the age of 40. The IAWA(UK) gives 1 percent per year starting at age 36 and then 2 percent per year starting at age 66.
What was agreed upon by the membership was a compromise of these two correction systems. Now for IAWA competitions, a lifter receives 1 percent per year starting at the age of 40, and at the age of 66 receives 2 percent.
Now my opinion..
I truly believe that for our organization to grow we must always tilt the formula to allow a strong young lifter to beat a strong older lifter. Best lifters should be decided by the weight lifted and not by a formula. However, the previous system didn’t even allow the older lifter (over the age of 65) to even be in consideration. Contrary to what those on the “other side” of this argument (not wanting to see any changes) might say – this small change will not let older lifters easily beat young lifters!! Just look at the studies and the numbers and you will see what I am saying. Giving a 70 year old lifter 36 percent adjustment is still not much compared to what they really should be getting if we want complete equality (the studies showed that 90 percent correction is needed for a 70 year old). By the way, these studies were done using data from the USAWA and IAWA Record Lists which provided over 20 years of data collection!! I base my opinion on numbers and statistics and not “gut feelings”.
I was also glad to see the age correction adjustment still starting at the age of 40. This seems logical to me – as it is the time a lifter enters the Masters division and becomes eligible for Masters age group records. Now I hope that the USAWA and the IAWA(UK) will come together on this and both adopt the IAWA system for age correction. Unification on this would be a good thing for the IAWA.