The GraceKennedy Money Services National Bench Press 2023 took place on July 15, 2023, at the Fit Farm Fitness Ground amidst scorching temperatures. The event witnessed a significant surge in athlete participation, drawing the attention of a growing number of spectators. Ms. Danielle Williams, the NPAJ Competition League Director were present to oversee the proceedings.

To ensure the event's success, the NPAJ took proactive measures in preparation. Starting on Friday night, they made arrangements to increase the number of tents and chairs at the venue, foreseeing a substantial turnout of fans and supporters on Saturday morning when the competition commenced at 10 am.

The number of athletes had doubled, and this surge also brought in a larger audience. She attributed this boost to stricter registration processes and the athletes' better understanding of the importance of selecting the appropriate weight class during preregistration and postregistration. However, Ms. Williams also acknowledged that newer athletes still struggled with these aspects.

The weather was exceptionally hot, posing challenges for the athletes' overall performance. Chantolle McKenzie addressed this concern, stating that the heat could lead to dehydration and a decline in muscle endurance, potentially causing injuries. Fortunately, no injuries occurred during the event, indicating that the athletes were taking measures to hydrate and stay cool. The women, who competed in the cooler morning hours, performed well, achieving mostly successful lifts with only a few failed attempts.

On the other hand, the men, who competed in the hotter afternoon conditions, had a higher number of failed lifts on their third attempts, indicating that some of them might not have considered the heat's impact on their energy levels when selecting their weights.In the absence of the Competition Chairperson, Jeremy Owen, Ms. Williams evaluated her decision-making abilities as an interim leader. She rated herself an 8 out of 10, citing minor issues such as weight class violations and the use of liftingcast by referees that led to the decision to implement the use of referee cards. Overall, she felt the day ran smoothly.

Chantolle McKenzie then assessed the performance of the new referees, Sherane Blake and Patrick Wright, at the Bench Press Meet 2023. She praised both individuals for their exceptional performance, with Ms. Blake exhibiting keen attention to detail and the ability to make calls independently. Mr. Wright's previous experience as an athlete also contributed to his proficiency as a referee, as he understood the nuances of proper lifting techniques.

When asked if Miss Blake and Mr. Wright demonstrated a strong understanding of the rules and regulations governing the Bench Press Competition, Chantolle McKenzie confirmed that they did. They knew how to start once the athletes were on the platform, what to look for during the lifts, and how to perform their tasks efficiently.

Regarding their potential to become proficient and experienced referees in future competitions, Chantolle expressed her confidence in both referees. She believed that more experience would be gained by participating in more meets, which was one of their main aims going forward.

Additionally, she suggested organizing referee workshops and seminars, as well as encouraging them to watch major competitions worldwide, to further enhance their understanding of their roles.

The full complement of referees for the Bench Press 2023 was Chantolle McKenzie, Sherane Blake, Chad Wright, Patrick Wright, and Suzette McPhail. With their combined expertise and dedication, they ensured that the event was fair, competitive, and successful, leaving both athletes and spectators satisfied with the National Bench Press 2023.

In the aftermath of the GraceKennedy Money Services National Bench Press 2023, NPAJ President Michael Blair was thrilled with the success of the event. The substantial increase in athlete participation and the growing interest from the general public showcased the undeniable growth and popularity of powerlifting in the country. He commended Ms. Danielle Williams, the NPAJ Competition League & Series Director, for her outstanding leadership and decision-making abilities, ensuring a smooth and well-organized competition despite the challenges posed by the hot weather.President Blair also extended his gratitude to Chantolle McKenzie, the NPAJ Referee Committee
Chairperson, for overseeing the referee team and for her commendable evaluation of new referees, Sherane Blake and Patrick Wright. He agreed with Chantelle’s assessment of their potential to become proficient and experienced referees in future competitions, and he vowed to support their growth by providing more opportunities for them to officiate in upcoming meets and by arranging referee workshops and seminars.

Amidst the excitement and accomplishments of the Bench Press 2023, President Blair recognized the crucial role of sponsors in making such events possible. He expressed heartfelt appreciation to GraceKennedy Money Services, Eagle 7, Tuff Fitness, Fit Farm, and Logo Stitch Manufacturing Ltd for their generous sponsorship. Their support not only contributed to the success of the event but also reaffirmed their commitment to promoting sports and fitness in the country.

Looking ahead, President Blair pledged to continue fostering the growth of powerlifting in the nation. He vowed to work closely with the organizing committee, referees, athletes, and sponsors to elevate the sport to new heights. With unwavering dedication and enthusiasm, he anticipated even greater achievements in the next National Bench Press competitions.

As the sun set on the Fit Farm Fitness Ground, the National Bench Press 2023 remained a memorable event in the hearts of all involved. The camaraderie, passion, and sportsmanship displayed by athletes and officials alike epitomized the spirit of powerlifting. With the support of the powerlifting community, the NPAJ was well on its way to becoming a force to be reckoned with on the international powerlifting stage.