New Zealand Powerlifting Nationals | 2019 Review & 2020 Preview
Updated: Mar 6, 2021
It's hard to believe it's been over a year since the 2019 National Powerlifting Championships. 2019 saw the competition return to Auckland for the first time since 2015 and was once again held at Alexandra Park Racecourse in Greenlane. As with any national-level event, there was a lot of hype going into the competition and some fierce rivalries emerged in the weeks leading up to the competition.
Here, we're going to highlight our top 5 moments from the competition and break down and after that, what you might see at the 2020 national championships.
The 93kg Mega Session
The 93kg class has always been a popular class to compete in and watch but in recent years, the talent in this class has exploded. Whilst many competitors can only dream of getting their total close to multiple time national champion, Jamie King, the silver medal spot and below was highly contested with some NZPF stalwarts. Going into the competition, Rob Quinlivan and Jordy Kane were both looking good for silver but in the end, Rob's threshold lifts edged out Jordy's signature sandbag style lifting.
An un-official 47kg world record
Megan-Li Smith, coming off a convincing victory at the 2019 World Championships in Helsingborg, Sweden in the Junior 47kg class was looking strong coming into the competition and put on a master-class totaling a whopping 363kg at under 47kg bodyweight - A new New Zealand record and an unofficial junior world record. This feat also earnt Megan-Li the award for best overall junior female at the championships.
Megan-Li about to take her second attempt deadlift at nationals 2019 with ease
The battle of the 72's
If there's one thing more certain than the sun rising in the east and setting in the west, it's that the 72kg class at any competition will contain some epic lifting. Canterbury's Jenny Dewar came face to face with Auckland's Nicole Smith and Alyssa-Joy Spence plus a number of other super strong lifters. Up until deadlifts it was neck and neck between Jenny and Nicole but eventually, Jenny's strong deadlift allowed her to take the lead and secure gold.
Juniors lifting in the open class
Some lifters aren't fussed with personal bests - They just want to be the best. In 2019, three of NZs strongest 105kg juniors threw their hat in the ring with the open lifters, which ultimately created the most competitive class of the 2019 championship. With the 2018 champ and 2019 Masters world champion, Andy Mahon not attending the 2019 championship the door swung open for a new champion. Junior lifter, Maui Koopu managed to take the title, by eclipsing his previous personal best total by 42.5kg's and destroying some junior New Zealand records along the way.
The biggest drug-tested deadlift in New Zealand, ever
For years, Derek Pomana's 365kg deadlift, which happened in 2002 at the Oceania Championships was heralded at unbeatable. That is, until New Zealand's strongest account, Sebastian McLarin came along. From Seb's first competition, it was obvious he was gifted when it came to the deadlift and for the final lift of the 2019 national championships, in order to total 900kg he pulled 380kg, eclipsing his own national record (Since the weight classes were reset) by 29.5kg. Will he be the first New Zealander to pull 900kg?
Seb Mclarin taking 380kg for the final deadlift of nationals 2019. Will he deadlift 400kg+ in 2020?
With 221 entries, the 2020 championships are officially the biggest ever national competition in New Zealand, which is especially impressive given the disruptions we've all faced this year. Of course, like any year, we've earmarked a few competition match-ups that will be good to watch:
66kg Open Since late 2019, the popularity of the lightweight men's classes has exploded. The 66kg class, in particular, had never had a high level of participation from New Zealanders. This year, we have 5 lifters with nominated totals in excess of 500kg and a number on the cusp. Suffice to say the battle for the podium will be a good watch.
66kg frontrunner, Viv Washington attempting 205kg at the 2020 Auckland championships
93kg Junior Men To begin with, with have 3 super strong junior 93s, vying for the gold medal - Multiple time national champ Jacob MacKinnon, bench prodigy Dillon Carrol and dark horse Eli Abouchaaya. In an event reminiscent of the 2016 93kg national junior championship these 3 are nominated within a few kilograms of each other and we fully expect this to come down to the final deadlift. Rational attempt selection will be key for these lifters.
84kg+ Open Women The 84kg+ class has often produced some fantastic lifters in New Zealand and this year we get to some of the best clash in a head to head competition. Aimee Christiansen, Jana Hayes, Mallory Toeaiga, and Maria Tauroa are all nominated within a couple of failed attempts of one another. Make sure you're watching this class on the final day of the competition.
2019 national champion, Jana Hayes about to squat
72kg Open Women As described earlier, the 72kg class is always a great watch and 2020 will be no different. Newcomer and monster deadlifter Casey O'Malley will come face to face with Hema Govind, a matchup that has been hyped up since we learned Casey was joining the NZPF. Also notable ,Naomi Fruen Lagi, Amanda Wallstrom, and a number of other lifters will be trying to one-up each other and we expect to see a number of last-minute changes of attempts.
The Overalls New Zealand is lucky to have a high number of super-elite lifters relative to our population. This year, we expect to see a close fight in both the men's and women's divisions for best overall lifter. In the men's side, 74kg lifter Chris Kennedy and 83kg lifter Tim Monigatti came within a hair of each other at their respective regional championships. Both have big enough totals to podium in their respective classes at the world championships and both have a lot of momentum on their side coming into this competition. For women, 2 former Junior world championships, Megan-Li Smith in the 47kg class and Evie Corrigan in the 57kg class will likely be vying for best overall woman. We haven't seen much of Megan-Li in 2020 but based off her result in 2019, she could be looking at a monster total. We got a taste with what was in store for Evie during a gym max out earlier in the year and if she can put it all together, we'd be look at one of the biggest totals ever in the 57kg class, regardless of country.
Tim Monigatti taking a 270kg squat at nationals 2019
Of course, what we've described above aren't the only matchups in the competition, there will be heaps of big lifts, NZ records (including a possible 400kg+ deadlift by Seb Mclarin) and head to head battles over the 5 days of competition and with participation being at an all-time high, 2020 is going to be the springboard we need to take Powerlifting to the next level here in NZ.
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