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Bo Arends at the European University Powerlifting Cup 2022

Last October I competed at the National Student Championships where I won and managed to qualify for this year’s European and World University Powerlifting Cup. Last week, the European University Powerlifting Cup took place in Luxembourg. Last year I really enjoyed getting the opportunity to compete in two international competitions and this year was no exception!

On Wednesday the 23rd of March I left with my coach and we had a road trip to Hamm, in Luxembourg. Here we met the rest of the Dutch team and had a training session together. My competition took place on Friday. On Thursday, one of the Dutch team members had to compete. It was nice to see how the atmosphere during the competition was, to mentally prepare myself for my own competition.

On Friday we had to weigh in at 9:00. My body weight was 68,2 kg and I competed in the -69 kg class, so I had no stress making weight. After weigh-ins you always have some time to relax and prepare yourself, so I sat in the warm-up area with my headphones on and ate some food that was rich in carbohydrates.

At 10:30 it was time to start warming up because the competition would start around 11:30. In powerlifting you have 3 exercises; the squat, the bench press and the deadlift. You get 3 attempts to perform 1 rep for each exercise, and you start the competition with squats.

My squat warm-ups felt great! I wasn’t nervous like I was at the previous competitions, which felt great mentally. I did my first squat at 137,5 kg. It moved okay, and for my second attempt I went up to 142,5 kg. This felt heavy but I had the feeling I had more in me. For my last attempt I did a 145 kg squat. It was a huge grinder but I made it! This was also a 7 kg squat PR.

Then it was time for my weakest lift, the bench press. The warm-ups felt great and I was confident. My first bench press was 72,5 kg, which flew! We went up to 77,5 kg for the second attempt. It felt solid, and I went up to 80 kg for my last attempt. I never pressed this weight in training before, so I was really excited to see if I could do it. I made it and was really proud since 80 kg is a nice milestone! This was also a 7 kg bench press PR and I even got a bronze medal in bench press!

After bench pressing I had to warm up for my favourite lift, the deadlift. I was excited and ready. My first attempt of 165 kg felt good, and we decided to do 175 kg for the second attempt, which would be a 5 kg pr. I got it up but it didn’t count, because there was some downward motion during the lift and that is a technical error. I tried 175 kg again in my third attempt but I did not get it up this time. This was disappointing since my deadlift PR is 170 kg and I only managed to lift 165 kg, but the 165 kg was enough for a bronze medal nonetheless.

I started the competition strong but was disappointed with my deadlifts. However, I still managed to get a 4th place and 2 bronze medals for bench press and deadlift. I lifted 390 kg in total which is a 9 kg total PR. With my lifts I also broke my own student records in the squat, bench press and total. But the most important thing was that I had a lot of fun and was not nervous at all, and I really enjoyed the competition!

The rest of the days in Luxembourg were very fun. I got to help with coaching some Dutch teammates and we spent some time together sightseeing in Luxembourg city. On Sunday the competition ended with a banquet where we got to talk with all the international teams and have some food and drinks.

I’m grateful I got the opportunity to compete internationally again. In November I get to compete at the World University Powerlifting Cup. I’m very excited to see how much stronger I can get in the coming few months. But first, I will compete at the junior national championships in 3 weeks!