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Teofilo powers to silver

Pun Teofilo successfully lifts 255kg in the deadlift at the NZPF National Championships. PHOTO/SCREENSHOT


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Masterton powerlifter Pun Teofilo was only one lift away from a first overall national title at his first attempt last week.

The 40-year-old is a two-time national open champion and record holder in the bench press, and had not previously competed in the overall powerlifting championships, which also include the free lift disciplines – the squat, and the deadlift.

However, on the urging of coach James Schroeder from Christchurch, Teofilo took the two disciplines more seriously, and came close to victory in the Masters One [40-49 years] 105kg class at the New Zealand Powerlifting Federation national championships at Ascot Park Hotel in Invercargill last Tuesday.

“James basically persuaded me to look into competing in the free lifts, because he thought I would do really well, and it was a very, very close battle for the top spot,” Teofilo said.

In the end, Teofilo had to settle for second in the weight category and second overall in Masters One to Aucklander Darren Neves.

His total weight for all three disciplines of 698.5kg was only 1.5kg shy of Neves’ winning total of 700kg.

For the overall masters’ title Teofilo finished second with 86.4045 GL [good lift] points, less than 0.15 point behind Neves on 86.5900 points

Teofilo was third after the squat with a best lift of 230kg, and then as expected, he dominated the bench press, setting a new Masters One record of 200.5kg, followed by a press of 213.5kg, which is also a new Open Men’s record. His bench press lift was nearly 50kg better than Neves’ best effort.

In the final discipline, the deadlift, Teofilo successfully lifted 255kg and was attempting a third and final lift of 265kg, which would have placed pressure on Neves to produce a bigger lift, only to be shown two red lights on a technicality for not locking his knee.

Teofilo did claim a first placing with the Wellington and Central team, who easily won the teams’ championship, well clear of runners-up Auckland.

Completing the championship became even more of a challenge for the NZPF when the government announced during the Masters One event that the country would go into covid-19 level four lockdown that night.

“I’m happy to be able to participate at all. The announcement happened halfway through the competition, and then there was an announcement to say that it was going to be the last day.

“I felt very sorry for the rest of the lifters who were there waiting for their comp in the following days, and it was pretty devastating for a lot of people.”

Teofilo said he was very fortunate to get bookings on airline flights and returned home on Thursday.

As well as his coach Schroeder, Teofilo thanked Bevan Mackenzie of Masterton’s WaiWeight gym for his support and use of equipment over recent years.

Next up are the national bench press championships scheduled for September in Palmerston North, where Teofilo will target more national records in his first foray in the masters’ grades.

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