I joined the Phoenix Performance powerlifting team for the second and third day of the European Championships based in Manchester. We had a number of lifters spread out over various flights on the Tuesday and Wednesday. This was my first trip to the Europeans and I have to say it was intense, brilliant and very demanding.
It was incredible to see the amount of work the organisers had put in for organising a huge number of competitors over so many flights over six days. Conference rooms in the hotel had been converted into a number of warm up rooms complete with benches, monos and all the tools for powerlifting. The main auditorium was laid out extremely well which allowed the crowd good access to the platform. All the days were live streamed via Facebook by Chris from the GB Powerlifting Support group.
I was only concentrating on the Phoenix Performance lifters and it was frantic trying to shoot all of the their lifts over the varying flights.
The team put in superb performances. Sandra was perhaps the star of the show after setting a masters world record for a 102.5kg deadlift for a lady who is 72 years young. The house literally did come down when she made that lift. Jackie also set a world record with her deadlift, a tremendous performance.
The guys also put in strong performances. Sibby has been looking to take the world record on the deadlift, having failed at the Rotherham qualifiers. He put in a commanding performance to achieve his ambition and put his name in the record books. Many of the guys put in PB’s and really did the team proud.
I also met up with Owen Crisp and Chris Simpson, two lifters who contribute and write blogs for Powerlift Media.
Owen put in a solid performance with a superb squat, achieving some of his best lifting to date.
Chris came to the competition on his own which was a difficult situation to find himself in at his first ever big championships. The Phoenix Performance team took him ‘under their wing’. Chris failed his first two squats due to nerves and not settling into his routine. Support and coaching from Tom Sheppard and also Emma, one of the main championship organisers, gave Chris the confidence and focus he needed. He nailed his third squat and then went on to put in a superb performance especially on his last deadlift.
From a photographic perspective the championships were brilliant to cover. It was intense and frantic to get all the team lifts covered with images and video due to the number of people across different flights. The lighting was also tricky due to the auditorium being a conference room. The lights and large projector screen changed the ambient lighting and the camera settings had to be constantly changed to allow for the differing lighting conditions.
In summary a very enjoyable two days. a great atmosphere and as ever a great challenge to capture the lifters in action and trying to get that ‘different’ image. I hope to be at the championships next year.