Billy Buhler decided to lighten his workload at the Canadian Powerlifting Union National Championships, staged earlier this month in Winnipeg.
Last year, the Parksville athlete competed in both raw and equipped powerlifting. It was a novelty for Buhler then as not very many in the sport would ever attempt it. He could have done it again this year but after weighing his options, he felt he had a better chance on focusing on just one event. He chose equipped powerlifting, which he only started more than a year ago.
The plan paid off for Buhler as he ended up winning the gold medal in the 120-kilogram weight class while setting a national bench press record. He also achieved personal bests in the squats and in the deadlift.
As well, the 21-year-old Buhler secured a spot on the Canadian junior team and will make his second trip to the World Powerlifting Championships in August.
“I put all my bags into just one basket this year and it was good,” said Buhler. “It was important for me to go to world championships this year so I did equipped lifting exclusively and aimed for a big total.”
On his way to first place, Buhler set a national record in the bench, lifting 23g3 k and bettering his previous personal best by 7.5 kg. Buhler said he was surprised that he did so well in the bench considering it is his weakest out of the three lifts.
It didn’t go smoothly at the start. He was nearly assessed a no lift as his head went up a bit which the rules do not allow. He made some adjustments and it worked as he completed lifts of 215, 225 and 233 kilograms.
“I am known to be a crappy bencher so for me to win and for me to set a national record in the bench press, that’s pretty cool,” said Buhler.
In the squat, Buhler also encountered an unfamiliar setback. He said he’s never had problems in this event before but it happened when he took a step back during the lift. His first attempt at 325 kg was not counted and had to repeat the weight. Buhler was able to achieve it but he still was not happy with the way he lifted.
“I moved a bit slow at 325 kg which I have lifted many, many times at the gym,” said Buhler. “So I just went up 337 kg in my last attempt. And my final lift was a lot better than my first two. I think I had about 350 kg in me that day and the record is 352 kg. If I really dug deep and went up and put 350 kg on the bar I think I could have done it. But I will have to wait for another day. Every tournament is a lesson. I don’t ever miss squats.”
The last time he got a no-lift in squat was also in a tournament in Winnipeg in 2017. Buhler quipped if the next tournament is not in Winnipeg, he won’t miss a squat.
In the deadlift, Buhler opened with an easy 265 kg, then he jumped up to 280 kgs which was his previous best. It didn’t go well and got a no lift. He decided to go for broke and upped the weight by another five kilos to 285 kg. He lifted it well for a new personal best.
Buhler’s total lift came to 855.5 kg, another personal best, improving his previous mark by 30.5 kg.
Buhler hopes that the world championships will still go ahead in September.
“I hope the world is back in order by then,” said Buhler.
“My goal is to make the podium at the worlds this year.”