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Powerlifter back on top of the world

Jumping for joy: Brett Gibbs celebrating his final deadlift success. PHOTO/INTERNATIONAL POWERLIFTING FEDERATION


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Former Wairarapa College pupil Brett Gibbs is no stranger to the podium at Powerlifting World Championships, and he had even more motivation this year after finishing second in 2016 and 2017.

Gibbs competed in the 83kg category at the world championships in Canada last month, and smashed a host of world records on his way to first place.

The event consists of three events, the squat, deadlift and bench press, during which competitors lift successively heavier weights in three attempts and their best three lifts in each event comprise an overall total.

Not only did Gibbs set world records in the squat [299kg], bench press [214kg] and overall total [830.5kg] in his division, but he also became the first person in the 83kg category to lift 10-times his body weight overall, and the heaviest person to do it.

He managed a deadlift of 317.5kg, and said it was pleasing to return to the top of the standings.

“I won the juniors in the same category in 2014 and then in 2015 I came second but was promoted to first because the guy who won failed his drug test.

“Last year I had a pretty poor meet, but this year I managed to get back to first and had a pretty decent performance.”

Last year Gibbs entered the event as the clear favourite, but only made one of his three deadlift attempts.

If a competitor fails at a certain weight, they cannot lower their target the next time they lift.

“I left a lot of kilograms between my first and second attempts, which was a problem and gave the others a chance to move ahead of me.

“It wasn’t a good time, so to come back this year and make every lift and have a personal best total was pretty good.”

The lessons learned at last year’s event were painful at the time, but they had helped show the way back to the top of the podium this time around.

“The learning from last year was to stop chasing numbers,” Gibbs said.

“At the world champs it’s not necessarily just about the numbers, but it’s about strategising and working out how much risk you want to take for each attempt.”

Gibbs said he could have managed 302kg or 305kg in the squat, but at that time it was about taking the least amount of risk possible.

He also lowered his numbers for his first two deadlifts, but that set him up perfectly to go for 10-times his body weight with his final lift.

“That was a good goal to tick off,” Gibbs said.

“You can’t lower your weight once you attempt it, so you do have to be careful sometimes.”

Gibbs could be forgiven for taking a break now to rest and recover from such a dominant performance, but he already has his sights set on the New Zealand Nationals later in
the year.

“I’ve done more world championships than nationals because of the timing of them.

“There’s a few meets floating around that I need to decide on, depending on where they are and what they offer.”

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