NPAJ gets high marks from International Powerlifting FederationSaturday, December 04, 2021
After hosting its senior championship last Saturday, the National Powerlifting Association of Jamaica (NPAJ) received high marks from its international parent body.
“The championship went very well — all in all, very well,” Robert Keller, secretary general of the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF), told the Jamaica Observer when the powerlifting competition ended at the University of Technology, Jamaica.
“We're here for development work and bringing along the National Powerlifting Association of Jamaica. They have an army of volunteers — that makes things a lot easier. It was a pleasure working with everyone and we look forward to coming back in the near future,” he added.
In powerlifting an individual's goal is to lift the greatest weight possible in squat, bench, and deadlift. Athletes have three attempts to reach their maximum capacity. The heaviest lifts are combined to give a final points tally.
The local powerlifting body was only recently revived after first emerging decades ago. The NPAJ was incorporated in December 2020, and became a member of the International Powerlifting Federation in February this year.
Michael Blair, the NPAJ president, told the Observer he is proud of what the association has been able to accomplish in less than a year.
“I think this competition was a success. Everything that we planned didn't go as we wanted, but we were able to correct a lot of the stuff before the day was done.
“I am very happy we had this competition. The association is just 11 months old and we've executed a senior national championship with limited funds. The focus of this association is to ensure we give athletes the opportunity to execute at a high level and to build from the junior level upward,” Blair said.
On Saturday, Scott Jennings and Sami Depass were the standout performers in the men's and women's sections, respectively, comfortably beating their rivals.
Both caught the eye of Keller, who believes the NPAJ and its athletes have potential for growth which could be realised with proper guidance and support.
“We want to work with the Ministry of Sport to get equipment for them. The athletes deserve it, they work really hard and hopefully the Jamaican Government can help with that. One interesting fact is that Jamaica was one of the founding member federations back in 1972, nearly 50 years ago. We're happy they're back, it's been a long time and they are doing a great job.
“They have two world-class lifters — Scott Jennings and Sami Depass. And once the equipment is here, and we bring a coaching clinic, an athletes clinic and a referee clinic then the standard will start rising and more people will get involved,” he explained.
“We're gonna come back and give those clinics — no competition. I didn't see very many coaches here, and that's a concern of ours. There were athletes coaching athletes when you should have coaches coaching the athletes.
“You need coaches to coach the athletes because they were occasions when the numbers weren't picked very well. I can't recall the gentleman's name but he went from [lifting] 625lb to [attempting] 700lb. You don't do that because when you take a big jump like that it's a shock to the body,” the IPF secretary general pointed out.
“When the standards of officiating are high the lifters know they need to get deeper in my squat; I need to pause for my benches; and lock down my deadlifts,” Keller added.
Blair said Jamaica's powerlifters have been invited to compete at next year's national championship in the United States Virgin Islands. The Jamaicans are also down to feature at the 2022 North American Powerlifting Federation Championship in Panama.
— Sanjay Myers