The Chairperson of the NPAJ Competition Committee Mr. Jeremy Owen, said the excitement is building as the National Powerlifting Association of Jamaica Limited (NPAJ) prepares for its highly anticipated event, the NPAJ Powerlifting National Bench Press Only 2023.

As the Chairperson of the Competition Committee, I am thrilled to share all the details of this thrilling competition and the positive impact it will have on the powerlifting community.

The NPAJ Powerlifting National Bench Press Only 2023 is set to take place on Saturday, July 15 at the Fit Farm Fitness Club, a venue carefully selected based on various factors. Cost, size, and space were crucial considerations, allowing us to accommodate the expected 48 registered competitors, including 14 incredible females and 34 male’s lifters. We also considered the branding opportunity for NPAJ, ensuring a location that aligns with our mission and values. Furthermore, having a suitable warm-up area with two benches was of utmost importance to create an optimal lifting environment.

Speaking of competitors, we are proud to announce the significant increase in participation this year. With 48 registered competitors, this represents a 52% increase compared to 23 at last year's event. These athletes will be categorized into seven female weight classes and six male weight classes, ensuring fair competition, and providing opportunities for athletes of all body types and strengths to display their skills.

Participants must familiarize themselves with the specific rules and regulations of the event. They should pay attention to the registration process, equipment check, weigh-ins, and rack height times. Additionally, they must be aware of the IPF commands for the Bench Press: Start, Press, and Rack. These rules and regulations remain consistent with last year's meet, allowing for a seamless transition for returning lifters.

One significant change we have made this year is the removal of qualifying standards for eligibility. We purposefully eliminated these standards to encourage as many individuals as possible to compete, reducing barriers and promoting inclusivity within the sport. Our aim is to foster athlete development and provide a platform for powerlifters of all skill levels to display their strength.

During the competition, the referees will be diligently assessing the bench press lifts based on specific criteria. They will ensure competitors follow the three commands: Start, Press, and Rack. Additionally, they will be observing technical aspects, such as maintaining proper form with no lifting of glutes or head off the bench, keeping elbows below the shoulders, and feet flat on the ground. The referees will also ensure the bar does not go up and down, and back up again, and that thumb loops do not touch the bar. Furthermore, they will check for the absence of elbow sleeves and verify that the bar does not touch the belt if one is worn.

While no special provisions are currently in place for athletes with disabilities, we are committed to inclusivity and have plans to implement accommodations in the upcoming year. Our goal is to ensure that powerlifting is accessible to all individuals, regardless of their abilities.

Safety is paramount, and we have taken numerous precautions to ensure the wellbeing of all participants. A team of spotters will be present throughout the competition to provide assistance and prevent any potential accidents. Additionally, a dedicated medical team will be on standby to address any health-related concerns promptly.

The NPAJ Powerlifting National Bench Press Only 2023 not only serves as a thrilling competition but also contributes to the broader powerlifting community in Jamaica. The increase in participants compared to previous years reflects the growing interest and success of powerlifting in our country. Furthermore, this year's event will be live-streamed, allowing more fans and well-wishers to experience the excitement and support the athletes. By increasing exposure and generating more interest in the sport, we hope to inspire a new generation of powerlifters and further develop the talent pipeline.

Looking ahead, the Competition Committee has ambitious plans to promote powerlifting and organize similar events. We aim to expand our Powerlifting Clubs from six to twelve members, with a particular focus on recruiting members from rural parishes. This will allow us to reach a broader audience and spread the sport's benefits across the country. We also plan to conduct demonstrations in various parishes, engaging with local communities and sparking interest inpowerlifting. Furthermore, we are exploring the possibility of introducing new categories for the next year, including Juniors, Masters, and potentially Para Powerlifting - Bench Press. Additionally, we are dedicated to enhancing our administrative and communication processes to ensure seamless operations and effective engagement with our members and the wider powerlifting community.

As the Chairperson of the Competition Committee, I am immensely proud of the growth and success of the NPAJ Powerlifting National Bench Press Only 2023. This event exemplifies our commitment to raising the bar and setting the standard for powerlifting in Jamaica. I invite all powerlifting enthusiasts, athletes, and fans to join us on July 10th, either in person or through the live stream, to witness the incredible strength and dedication of our lifters. Together, let us continue to push the boundaries of powerlifting and inspire others to reach new heights.