Melbourne Uni at the 2011 Australian Championships

The natural order of the World was restored at the 2011 Australian Championships, with Melbourne University regaining the men’s team title after it had been snatched by the Queensland University pretenders in 2010. Another verity also asserted itself in the running of the Championships, with Melbourne Uni people doing almost all of the set up, spotting and so on. Once again Sean The Penniless, Con Barbakos and Simon The Likeable soaked up blow after blow and came back begging for more.

On to the lifting and Nghiep Luu showed the irrational zeal of the convert, lifting Raw in a determined show of futility. Nghiep was rewarded with a meaningless 535kg and 5th place, but still ahead of young Junior Michael Censori, improving at 527.5kg. Further up in the 74kg class battered warhorse Neville Harris hung on for the win, after Club associate Sean Muir lifted as badly as he has long threatened to do. Just behind Nev was the deeply disturbed Small Luke Helmke, also attempting to train, if that word can be used, for a bodybuilding contest in a month’s time. Lest we forget, Minh Nguyen actually resembled a lifter back in 4th place, getting most of his lifts in a turn up for the books.

On to 83kg and the drama intensified. Chris Seville and APT between them squatted an Australian Record 285kg that wasn’t, as Chris bombed in the Bench. 155kg then 160kg was too heavy or maybe too light, but either way Chris was defunct. But then another bomb came by the leader in the Deadlift and who should emerge but The Brisbane Enigma, David Platzer! 650kg for a new best Total and suddenly the name “Platzer, D” is in the archives as Australian Champion! A triumph for persistence, mercuriality and no-one knows what else, but David was the winner and everyone else wasn’t.

Up at 105kg and Chris Schaerf came out of the desert, 18 months of thwarted progress bursting out with 787.5kg, a best by 40kg or so. 290kg Squat and 225kg Bench were outstanding efforts and put Chris in 3rd place overall. Dave Jame is incurable in his love of the sauna and came down from 112kg to 105kg to Squat an Oceania record 338kg, with a near miss on 356kg Commonwealth Record; however 305kg Deadlift was strangely difficult, although one look at the pudgy thighs explained all. Still 813kg was a consolidator and 840kg is the range for David next time. 120kg saw Lepeka (Peks) Nanai come through with a 30kg best, despite an ironic pec tear.

Way out there though with a gigantic 945kg at 120+kg was Stephen Pritchard, only 8 weeks out of hospital due to pneumonia. That put Stephen deservedly on the dais with all-time greats Brad Gillingham and Tony Harris and on the path of the first Australian 1,000kg total.

But there was more. The Bench Press session saw Minh replicate his 170kg from the day before to win the 74kg class and then Dr Strange, Peter Lange, took the 83kg class with 175kg, both rendering their opposition… invisible! And then the star of Vegie TV, Noah Hannibal avoided apprehension long enough to produce 190kg and take second place at 120kg.

And so it was, overall, another success for the Club. From here, mercifully, the Australian Open Championships will move to Sydney and the other hardies who will lug weights around at 1am. But still the Australian Raw Championships will be in Melbourne next March and that new frontier will be the next big outing for Melbourne Uni Powerlifting Club.

— Robert Wilks

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