T Nation

Are they Sleeping at PLwatch? Rondel Hunte


I was looking at the results from the NAPF championships on the CPU site. NAPF is the regional IPF championship for North America and the Caribbean. There is a junior lifter from Trinidad & Tobago named Rondel Hunte who totaled 865.5kg, 310/202.5/353. The current 105kg open total record is 890 by Krzysztof Wierzbicki - this kid is only 24.5kg behind, and is still a junior lifter. Looks like he may well be the next world champion in a few years.

How the hell is there no mention of this on powerliftingwatch?


Because it has become a horrible site.


I think the site is automated so maybe there is a bug in the program


In defense of powerliftingwatch, I just saw the video (on their site) of Krzysztof Wierzbicki deadlifting 420kg at 105kg in the World Games yesterday. I saw something about it on his facebook page yesterday but no video, I don’t blame him for not posting because I’m sure he has other things going on at the moment. However, the IPF facebook page was posting results and video clips until they got to SHW women and then stopped posting. There is nothing on the IPF page, despite this being the biggest IPF meet of all. If they can’t get into the Olympics then this is it.

In Italy they have a saying that " the stink starts from the head of the fish".

If you look at “Schedule & Results” on the World Games site, Powerlifting is right between orienteering and rhythmic gymnastics. Other sports include dancesport, fin swimming, fistball, and korfball.

Is powerlifting really that big of a joke?


I don’t know if you want an honest answer to this.


I don’t know what you can tell me that is worse than what certain “authorities” are doing themselves. Every day it looks worse. There is no reason that PL has to be a joke sport, it’s just the way that it’s being run.

As for PLwatch: at the same NAPF meet where Rondel Hunte competed, a Canadian lifter named Leon Brown set a new 105kg open bench record. He is over 50 years old and benched 224.5kg/495lbs. He also set a M2 squat record. Unfortunately, nobody seems to care.


Well, really, think about it. Is it a spectator friendly sport? How many meets do you go to for the sake of watching where you don’t have a dog in the fight? No one from your gym, no one you are handling, just a meet that looks fun to watch? Now, consider you are an athlete in this sport, know all the incredibly bizarre rules about which underwear will get you disqualified, etc etc. How many casual powerlifting fans do you imagine there to be?

Powerlifting is a youtube sport; great to watch clips of, terrible to watch as an event. Weightlifting isn’t much better, but it’s slightly more exciting because it has that NASCAR appeal that you MIGHT see a horrific wreck, since the weights are going overhead in all instances. Plus, those lifts are easier to “get” for the layman. Strongman has visual appeal, and even THEN WSM is heavily edited, because it’s AWFUL to watch live.

Lifting in general just isn’t a great sport. It’s a thing people in real sports do to get better at their sport. Typically, the reality is that the people who are super good at ironsports weren’t good enough for the sports that pay serious cash.

We do it because we love it.


I don’t expect PL to become a mainstream spectator sport, but there is no reason that it shouldn’t be on the same level as weightlifting. It’s basically the same thing, like comparing sprinting to hurdles.

I see stuff online dissing people who rarely or never compete and just post videos on Instagram and youtube. The more I see of what’s going on, the more that kind of thing makes sense to me.


I see it more like wrestling and judo. No one knows the rules, but most people can recognize a pin, whereas no one knows what the hell an Ippon is.

I think taking out the squat would go a long way toward making the sport more marketable. Same with sumo deads.


I’m pretty sure more people are familiar with the squat, bench, and deadlift than the snatch and clean & jerk.

The problem with the squat is mostly due to different depth requirements in different federations, combined with bad judging. They videoed all squats from the side at this year’s IPF worlds and there was no depth bullshit that I saw. If they were going to red light a good squat then everyone would have seen it in the replay.

What’s wrong with sumo? I switched to sumo because I can’t set up for conventional with a neutral spine. Some people like to say that sumo is cheating, but those same people can’t pull more with sumo themselves. Maybe they should get rid of straps and ridiculous hitching in strongman instead…


At the same time, I’m not really talking about making powerlifting more marketable. Since raw has become the main thing again, there are more and more people getting into PL and like you said, it’s not really much of a spectator sport. I just think that any federation that wants to be taken seriously (like the IPF in particular) needs to get their heads out of their asses and make things run properly - and not do dumb shit that discourages people from competing like charging double the price for a room in the “official” hotel and giving an equivalent fine if you stay elsewhere.


This is why I asked if you really wanted the answer to this.

Though true, those 2 numbers among the general sport watching population are still so absurdly small that the difference is inconsequential, especially when we consider a powerlifting legal squat and bench to what the population would be familiar with. The emphasis on my analogy is the point that a successful lift in weightlifting is far easier to identify to an average person compared to one in powerlifting. Hell, I competed in powerlifting, did 3 meets, and I’ll still watch a lift and have no idea why it got redlighted.

Head off the bench, taking a step after getting the down command, downward motion of the bar, rack before command, hands too wide, bar too low, etc etc, to say NOTHING of the insane rules regard height of shoe heel, belt width, what underwear the lifter is allowed to wear, etc. It’s what I’m getting at with the wrestling vs Judo analogy (which, I realize was a self defeating analogy, as I was relying on people to understand the obscure rules inherent in judo to appreciate how obscure those very rules are), but when people see a lift that LOOKS good by all accounts, only to find out that there was a rule that prevented it from being a good rule, it can turn off the audience.

Hell, even the NFL is running into some of this. What the hell is a “football move” that must be done after receiving a ball to make a fair catch?

Exactly. Getting rid of it would take out a LOT of drama, and be a positive for the sport. Viewers would have a far easier time following it too.

Most uninitiated people (regular sports watchers) see it as cheating, because it looks wildly different from a deadlift. It’s a fantastic display of powerlifting, but if your goal is to get people to take the sport seriously, it detracts.

Crossfit allows hitching too. Oddly enough, if I were to discuss the 2 sports right now that pay the most money and have the most viewers, where would I go? It would be rather odd for crossfit and strongman to take a lesson from powerlifting here, no?

With a sport like this, it comes down to if you want “integrity of the sport” or a viewing audience. Strongman was a TV show that turned into a sport rather than the other way around, so it’s actually been heading in the opposite direction and trying to find some manner of legitimacy as it goes.


Definitely true. They need to have some kind of standards, but things like red lights for the outer half inch of the sole of your shoe coming 3mm off the floor on bench is pretty stupid. If it’s not allowing an unfair advantage (like collar to collar grip, for example) then what’s the problem? The sport is supposed to be a test of strength, so what does taking a step forward before getting the rack command prove? There are definitely a lot of pointless technicalities.

I’m not seriously opposed to hitching in strongman or crossfit, it’s just another case of different standards in a different organization - except here it’s actually a different sport. I just don’t see a serious argument against sumo, the idea is to stand erect with the bar in our hands, right? Sumo (not extreme wide stance, of course) is arguably a more functional movement, if you are actually picking up something heavy other than a barbell you will probably stand with your legs further apart. Atlas stones, for example. Matt Wenning trains military, paramedics, firefighters, etc. and sumo DL is main things they try to get strong in.


To compel more people to watch the sport and not get confused.

The first time my wife saw someone pull sumo at a meet, she turned to me and said “That isn’t a deadlift. Isn’t that cheating?” She’s not unique in that initial thought as well for someone uneducated in powerlifting.

Like I said; sumo is a fantastic display of powerlifting. However, if the goal is to make the sport more popular, it confuses more people than it compels. The other option would be the make it ONLY sumo, just so that there is some sort of consistency in the final lift of the day, but you’ll find far fewer people excited over a short ROM sumo pull (in much the same way people dislike super high arch benches with 3" ROM).

Regarding atlas stones; you stand further apart because the diameter of the stone is further apart. The stone is between your feet, rather than in front of them.


PL is boring. I’d rather have the ESPN highlights than sit thru a meet - even one I’m competing in.

I also think getting rid of the squat would help because that is where most of the contention is. It’s very difficult to judge and in many cases subjective. I also believe competition would be more competitive getting rid of one “leg” lift. You can still have a huge total and a crap bench similar to Matt Sohmer in a three lift meet. Matt would still have a huge two lift total, but it would force him to work on his bench more than rely on the other two. I also think the deadlift numbers might go up as well not being as gassed by the time you get to that lift.

In my “perfect” world, PL meets would be raw with singlet, wrist wraps, knee sleeves and I’d even allow elbow sleeves. No weight classes. Best lifter determined by Wilks. Awards go to top 5 best lifter and top 5 totals. Weigh ins are the morning of the meet. I would probably have a masters division at 40+ also.

This garbage of all these extra rules and equipment and such are what makes things a pain.

Don’t get me wrong though, I like squatting. I just think that things could be better in competition without it; but it would feel very weird not having it in there.


People can accept weight classes. They understand a baby huey is going to push more than a runt or that a 60kg boxer is going to have a bad time against a heavyweight.

Folks generally don’t accept the person lifting the most weight, running the fastest, etc losing.


At the world games the other day, they split it into lightweight, middleweight, heavyweight, and super heavyweight and placing within each class was determined by Wilks. I’m not sure what the weight ranges were for each class, but Krzysztof Wierzbicki was in the SHWs along with Blaine Sumner despite the fact that Wierzbicki competes in the 105’s and Blaine is over 400lbs.

As for Wilks, the average person is going to say “what the hell is a wilk?”. It definitely doesn’t make the sport more marketable and you can win but still lose.

The squat depth thing is a direct result (and maybe a motivating factor as well) of PL splitting into different federations. Raw, raw w/wraps, single ply, multi-ply, slingshot division (SPF), and so on, it makes it hard for people to say “this is powerlifting” because powerlifting is not the same thing across the board. Until I heard that there were raw PL meets around where I live I had zero interest in powerlifting. I remember reading some of Louie Simmons’ articles talking about double ply denim shirts, squat briefs, bands and chains, and all kinds of fancy bars. I had never seen any of these things in real life, it was like science fiction to me. The shirt adds 300lbs. to your bench? Why not use a forklift? I think that PL is kind of back on track with raw becoming popular (and an option, instead of competing against people in gear and losing) but the feds need to get their shit together.


As for feds, USPA seems to be doing good job and actually has some big cash prizes at some meets, which is basically unheard of. They are the American affiliate of IPL. The Canadian affiliate is CPL, which has nationals coming up in two weeks in Alberta. However, they have no other meets on their calendar despite having several in the last year in various parts of the country. If I want to do a CPL meet, what do I do?

Now here’s the joke of the day. Look up rawbenchbash-dot-com This is at a gym in Ottawa (Orleans is part of Ottawa) that hosted an RPS meet last winter. I only heard about that after it was over. Anyway, the site says “RPS Canada” but there is no listing for this meet on the RPS site (there is another RPS meet on the same date) and even the RPS Canada facebook page has nothing about this meet. Is this a counterfeit RPS meet?


That’s why I’d have top 5 as best lifter and a top 5 with biggest total.

I don’t really care about the spectators or making it popular with the general public. I do however disagree that people wouldn’t accept the strongest lifter pound for pound finishing with a best lifter award.

I’m mostly speaking in terms of making things honorable at a meet. Back in the 80’s and 90’s I believe there weren’t as many “first place participation” awards being handed out. Too many feds are giving away trophies for the 40-44 yr old in the 308 class for finishing first place with a total of 1100lbs. Then that guy goes home and tells everyone he finished first place.

I don’t know that the general public needs to understand what a “wilk” is. Simply stated: Best lifter is described as the best pound for pound lifter.


I agree, although Wilks has some shortcomings as Greg Nuckols and others have pointed out. It’s better that multiples of bodyweight, but still far from perfect.