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Powerlifters earn top finishes in Las Vegas

Posted on November 6, 2013 by Taber Times

It was Viva Las Vegas for four local powerlifters at the AAU World Powerlifting and Feats of Strength Championships last month.

Lifting in the glitz of Las Vegas, the four Taberites were among 168 competitors and 15 countries that were represented at the event.

Brad Wilson competed in the unequipped open 220-pound class and took first place with a squat of 465 pounds, a bench press of 305, and a deadlift of 580.

Braden Gardner’s competition was in the unequipped open 242-pound class and finished in first with lifts of a 510-pound squat, a bench of 310 pounds and a deadlift of 540.

Clay Sparks powerlifted in the equipped teenager 18-19 division 220-pound class. His first-place finish included all Canadian records with a squat of 530 pounds, a bench of 340 pounds and a deadlift of 520 pounds.

Randy Sparks was in the equipped masters 242-pound class and he squatted 580 pounds, benched 325 pounds and deadlifted 535 pounds, breaking all world record marks in the process.

“All these guys are progressing really good. Braden missed a couple of lifts down there that would have made his totals even higher, but he still won his division,” said Randy Sparks.

“Clay’s lifts are really moving up, all three of them. Brad Wilson has been struggling with his deadlift a little bit but it’s been coming back and he lifted really well down there. I had a plan in place wanting to break all three world records so I just stuck with my plan and the intent so I didn’t want to do anything too crazy and mess it up for the next lift and so I stayed within myself.”

Sparks added Brad Olson could not attend the event, but would have likely have won his class as he trains for an event in Edmonton.

“The guy that won it, him and Brad would have had a fairly close competition,” said Sparks. “His lifting is really taking off.”

There was also a team competition in the event pitting country against country. The united States won the overall event from its sheer number of entries, but the seven Canadians there were well represented.

“We had six firsts and one third, so we actually won second place and got  a nice plaque,” said Sparks. “We accumulated a lot of points for getting so many first places.”

The feats of strength component had the Canadian team doing a overhead press and Clay Sparks won the teenager category and Braden won the open division.

“It was a great competition and they were very happy to have us there. That was the first time the Afgans sent a team to the world championships and they sent some strong lifters,” said Sparks. “Being in Las Vegas, there were a lot of people watching.”

The competition was a drug-free event where 40 lifters were randomly tested at the event.

“I take my job as a coach of this team very seriously, and  I was very proud of the lifters from Taber as well as the entire Canadian Team. The Canadian team received may compliments from the judges and organizers about the great technique and strength each lifter showed in each event,” said Sparks. “It is not an easy task to qualify, train and to prepare to compete at the world championships. Clay, Brad, Braden and Brad train very hard, never miss workouts, train when sick or injured and are very deserving of the success they have achieved. They have all learned that it is not just hard work but smart work that will get you stronger and keep you healthier.”

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