Good turnout for NI bench press championships

FORTY lifters recently turned up at the McKinney Hall, Tobermore with smiles on their faces to compete in another fantastic NIPF Competition. In this dual event (equipped and unequipped lifting) it was extremely encouraging to see two female athletes and ten junior lifters set foot on the platform.

The youngest of these was Ryan Rainey who benched 70kg in the Under 16 Category. Ryan is extremely strong and is destined to be a star of the future. The two lovely ladies (Josephine McAllister and Naomi McLean) both benched 55kg in the Senior 72 and 84kg Classes respectively, with Josephine narrowly pipping Naomi to best Female Lifter on body weight.

In the Men’s 66kg Class James McIlwaine benched 85kg and Kris Boyce 115 (both unequipped) to come first in their respective Categories, Under 18 and Senior. Four lifters competed in the Under 74kg Class, each of them benching without equipment to win their Categories. These were Laurence Bunting (U23), Sean Ryan (Senior), Trevor Harvey (Masters 3), and Dessie Scott (Masters 4). These guys benched 127.5, 127.5, 70 and 87.5kg respectively for super totals.

Completing the first flight of lifters were the 5 men in the 83kg Class. These were Mark Nugent, Ashley Dallas, Jonathan Laffey, Brian McShane and Jim McNicholas. All Seniors bar Jim (M2), there were some serious weights pressed here. Mark (the only equipped lifter in his Class) benched 190 for 174 Wilks points - impressive! Ashley and Jonathan had a brilliant battle in the Unequipped Category, the former just pipping the latter to first place with his 140kg bench over Jonathan’s 137.5 (albeit 2.7kg heavier).

Well done to Brian McShane (renowned author of ‘The few that do’) for powering up 90kg on his very first outing. Brian will be back for more punishment in the Push/Pull in October! Last but not least was gentleman Jim McNicholas who narrowly missed 100kg and posted 90kg for a highly respectable day. Jim is a current exponent of Centaur Gym’s 12 week body transformation (headed up by Paul McIlroy), which helps build both strength and physique.

The second flight of combatants was made up entirely from 93kg lifters. Some of the highlights included Ryan Stewart, who benched the elusive 200kg at 92kg to take the best Junior Equipped Title.

Darren McKeown from Aaron’s Gym benched 145 (unequipped) at 91.3kg to take first in the Under 20 Category. Jonny Boyd bested David Kernohan, the lighter man, in the Under 23 Category by lifting 140 to his 127.5 but this was a closer battle than on paper and everybody is looking forward to their next encounter. Our brand new Web Designer, William Newell benched 100kg (thanks William) to win the Masters 1 Category and the legendary Randall Crooks only missed out on best Senior Unequipped lifter by 1 Wilks point to eventual winner and NIPF Treasurer, Brian Coombes. It’s never a disgrace when you lose out to the current British Bench Press Champion (120kg Class).

The final flight of lifters produced the best Equipped Senior lifter (Leslie Steele), the best Unequipped Senior lifter (Brian Coombes), the best Junior Unequipped lifter (Adrian McCullagh) and the best Masters Unequipped lifter (Colin Wright). Leslie benched 245 in the 120+ Class and without a doubt left 15 to 20kg on the platform. If his progression continues, the NIPF will see a 600lb bench very soon - watch this space! Adrian also benched well within himself and posted 200kg (over double his body weight). Brian benched 187.5kg and Colin 177.5 for a personal best. A raw 400lb bench on the cards for Colin very soon!

Miles Hutchinson was first in the Under 20, 105kg Class. The man from Upperlands Gym posted 145kg for 121 Wilks points (Unequipped). Ciaran Conroy benched 135 in the Seniors and Adam McCombe 60kg in his first ever event. Also in the 105’s were the Veteran Mike Gabbey who easily benched 85kg in the Masters 3 and Sammy Porter, who qualified for the British Championships by benching 145kg. It’s great to see Mike lifting again after a serious tricep injury and Sammy getting the fire back into his belly again. In the 120 Class Roy McLean, husband of Naomi, benched an impressive 150kg at Masters 1. Expect Roy to push onto big things in 2013.

In the 120+ Jonny ‘the gentle giant’ Cathcart pushed a 160kg pb at 121.3kg Unequipped to win the Under 23’s. Brian Steele, brother of Leslie, benched a massive 215 Unequipped and Robert ‘nice guy’ Newman benched 175 for a pb. Rob would surely have benched 180 had he gone for it on his second attempt! Finally last, but not least, well done to William Johnston (NIPF’s Drug Enforcement Officer) for pressing 115kg. William’s competition training had been unsettled and I expect big things from the man mountain next year.

Finally, a big thank you to all the Competitors for your participation and playing your part in a wonderful event. To Nicky Murray and Denver McGuckin for organising the Competition logistics and putting together a great day. For those of you who received quality trophies and medals you must thank these guys! Special thanks and appreciation must also go out to Dave Warner (star MC and Strongman) for ensuring the day ran smoothly and Performance Nutrition Plus for providing free T-shirts. Thanks also to the great many spectators and supporters who turned up - the NIPF goes from strength to strength.