Powerlifting is an individual sport. It has different categories for different age groups starting from 14 years. Weight training is a natural means of exercise for blind pesons, as it requires little start-up expenses and can be achieved at home or in a gymnasium. For the competitive athlete who is looking for an activity that he or she can perform with able-bodied individuals, powerlifting is one of the few sports where a blind person can compete on an equal basis.
Enjoyed by both men and women in over 78 countries around the world, powerlifting is without doubt the ultimate strength sport. It is distinct from the Olympic sport of weightlifting - a technical event made up of two lifts, the Snatch and the Clean-and-Jerk, where the weight is lifted above the head. Powerlifting is a test of pure, unadulterated, brute strength, and comprises three lifts: Squat, Bench Press and Deadlift.
The Squat is the first of the three lifts. Standing upright with the barbell resting across the back of the shoulders, the lifter sits or 'squats' down to a required depth and then attempts to stand up again, returning to the original position.
b) Bench Press
Probably the most famous and best-loved exercise practiced by millions of people in gyms throughout the world, the bench press is the second lift in a powerlifting competition. Lying flat on their back on a bench of a certain height and specification, the lifter holds the barbell at arms length above the chest. The bar is then lowered until it stops on the chest and then pushed or 'pressed' back up again.
The final lift of the 'Big 3', the deadlift, as the name suggests, involves lifting a 'dead' weight. Gripping the barbell, which sits flat on the floor, the athlete attempts to lift the weight until they are standing upright with their shoulders back.
Powerlifting competitions for the blind began in the early 1980´s in Australia, Canada, Great Britain and the USA. Competitions in these countries were held with National results and records exchanged between the four participating countries. On April 16th 1988, the first World Cup of Powerlifting was staged in Ottawa Canada. Forty-one (41) lifters participated in this meet with men’s and women’s open, and masters’ category competitions taking place under International Powerlifting Federations (IPF) rules.
On April 6th & 7th 1990, the second World Cup of Powerlifting was held in Riverside, California, USA. The United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) hosted this competition. The third World Championship was staged in Perth Australia on April 11th & 12th 1992.
In the following years, World Championships were held under the auspices of an independent International Blind Powerlifting Federation (IBPF), in association with the IPF. They were held as follows: 1993 Ottawa, Canada; 1994 Marbella, Spain; 1995 Colorado Springs, USA; 1996 Edmonton, Canada; 1997 Colorado Springs, USA and in 1999 Kitchener, Canada.
With the new millennium came a shift from a separate blind powerlifting federation, to being a technical sub-committee of the International Blind Sports Association. This re-alignment was designed to gradually get powerlifting to the mainstreamed point of acceptance into the Paralympics.
The IBSA Technical Committee Powerlifting is committed to moving blind powerlifting into the Paralympics. There has been great discussion over the years as to how this can and will be done.
Powerlifting as a sport already exists in the Paralympics as the bench only, for disability categories amputee, dwarf, paraplegic, etc., but not for blind persons. Some feel we should move to have blind added as a disability category. Others feel that may lead to the ability to add squat and deadlift as events to that sport as it exists. Still others feel that no compromise can be allowed: Powerlifting is a 3-lift sport and must stay that way.
Most Paralympic sports work out these details in conjunction with their able-bodied counterparts' Olympic governing bodies. But Blind Powerlifting ran into the problem that the Olympic counterpart is Weightlifting - an entirely different sport.
The consensus of the leaders in the sport, however, is that these changes must come from within the International Blind Sports Association (IBSA) as Powerlifting does not have a parallel Olympic sport.
For now, Blind Powerlifting continues on a Paralympic schedule planning on eventually being included. 2001 had regional events such as the Pan-American Games, held in the USA, and the Oceanic Games, held in Australia. 2002 had another sport-individual World Championships, held in the Czech Republic. 2003 was a multi-sport World Championships coordinated by IBSA, held in Quebec, Canada.
Blind Powerlifting took the year off as it was not included in the Paralympics in 2004. The sport is preparing to hold a sport-individual World Championships in 2005. Bids are presently being accepted for the same.
Meanwhile, the 4-year cycle begins anew, with redoubled efforts to include Blind Powerlifting in the following Paralympic games.
In Powerlifting competition, athletes are categorized by sex, age and bodyweight. Each competitor is allowed three attempts at each lift, the best lift in each discipline being added to their total. The lifter with the highest total is the winner. In cases where two or more lifters achieve the same total, the person with the lightest bodyweight wins. The Men's and Women's Open Championships permit lifters of any age in excess of 14 years.
The IBSA Technical Committee Powerlifting, the governing organization for blind Powerlifting, adopted and adapted the formal rules of the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) for the running of our sport. A copy of the IPF rules can be found at their site. The adaptations made for the blind are very minor, and do not affect the overall rules. An example would be the allowance of a coach to guide a lifter on the platform to the bar.
A detailed version of the rules and regulations for Blind Powerlifting can be found at the IBSA site.
Calendar of main competitive events
IBSA Youth World Championships 2005
Location : Colorado Springs, United States
Date : August 4 - 10, 2005
Records / Landmarks
Click to see the current world records
Click to see the current world rankings
Click to see the all -time world rankings
To see results from world championships held in the past, select hte year from the list below::
2003 IBSA World Powerlifting Championships
2002 IBSA World Powerlifting Championships
2000 IBSA World Powerlifting Championships
1999 IBSA World Powerlifting Championships
1997 IBSA World Powerlifting Championships
1996 IBSA World Powerlifting Championships
1995 IBSA World Powerlifting Championships
1994 IBSA World Powerlifting Championships
1993 IBSA World Powerlifting Championships
The governing body for powerlifting is the I.B.S.A. Technical Sub-Committee Powerlifting.
Ms. Launel J. SCOTT
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Mr. Anthony Young
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