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Home News Local news USVI Powerlifting Hosts 2020 Robert Massey Classic

USVI Powerlifting Hosts 2020 Robert Massey Classic

Akeame Jones completes a back squat at the 2020 Robert Massey Classic. (Source photo)

Powerlifters who hope to represent the U.S. Virgin Islands in international competition participated in the 2020 Robert Massey Classic Saturday morning at Rock Life Crossfit to record official scores and get ready for the national meet, which will take place in February.

With so many competitions canceled this year, this meet was an opportunity “to get together and compete for powerlifters that want to represent the Virgin Islands,” said secretary general of USVI Powerlifting and meet director, Kimberly Walford.

Robert Massey, president of the USVI Powerlifting, said the event was a welcome break from the COVID-19 self-quarantining.

“With nothing going on, they just want to lift,” he said of the competitors.

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The powerlifting association was down to just one member midway through 2019, but a resurgence for the organization has begun. This was the second official USVI powerlifting event this year, after the first in February.

Massey was impressed with the improvement of powerlifters since the last meet and feels the sport in the Virgin Islands is on the rise.

Karan Sanford-Taylor fights to raise her deadlift attempt. (Source photo)

Priscilla Delmoral, Karan Sanford-Taylor, Deshawnie Larrimore, Danielle Todmnan, Brandi Sneed, Cory Watkins and Akeame Jones were the seven competitors on Saturday.

Lifters competed to have the highest total weight, which includes the lifter’s highest squat, bench press and deadlift.

The rules for powerlifting are strict. For example, the bench press rules are that the lifter must bring the weight down to the chest and wait for the judges’ command to lift the weight up. The bar must be motionless on their chest before they can start the lift. Once up, the lifter must wait again for the judges’ command to rack the weight. If anything is done incorrectly the lift will not count.

Delmoral, 21, was the youngest participant and improved her overall total score from 297.5 kilograms in February to 309.5 over the weekend. She back squatted 122.5 kilograms, benched 62.5 kilograms and deadlifted 125 kilograms.

Larrimore matched her score of 350 kilograms with a squat of 130, bench press of 60 and deadlift of 160.

Sneed lifted a total of 454.5 kilograms, the highest total among the women competitors. Her highest back squat was 172.5 while she benched 112.5 and deadlifted 170.

Jones saw a slight decrease in his total score after putting up 590 kilograms on Saturday. He had lifted 595 in February. On Saturday Jones put up 205 on the squat, 145 on the bench press and 240 on the deadlift.

Sanford-Taylor and Watkins competed in the Master’s 2 age group. Watkins is the owner of Rock Life Crossfit and this was his first competitive meet. He had a total of 447.5 kilograms, with a 147.5 back squat, 107.5 bench press and 192.5 deadlift.

Sanford-Taylor’s total was 260 kilograms. She lifted an 82.5 back squat, 55 bench press and 122.5 deadlift.

Jones said his performance was “the best he could do in the situation.” He built his own gym during quarantine at his house to prepare for the meet.

The difference between the meets in the Virgin Islands was the size and number of participants, Jones said, suggesting any Virgin Islanders considering powerlifting to “give it a try.”

From a technical standpoint, Walford said that the meet was an opportunity to work out any kinks before nationals.

The meet gave lifters something to focus on during the pandemic. It also perfectly aligns with when lifters should start their next training cycles for the national meet. Most powerlifting training cycles average about 10 to 12 weeks, so lifters can take a week off and get right back to training in the next few weeks.

Walford said some of the positives from Saturday’s meet were the support of spectators and a lot of the lifters hitting personal bests.

“We do this because we love the sport and love the Virgin Islands,” Walford said.

The USVI Powerlifting is recognized as an affiliated national federation member of the largest international powerlifting federation in the world – the International Powerlifting Federation, which consists of more than 100 countries organized under six geographical regions.

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