Parksville powerlifter Billy Buhler about to lift 290 kilograms in the deadlift the World Powerlifting Championships held in Regina, Sask. — International Powerlifting Federation photo

Vancouver Island powerlifter wins bronze at junior world championships

Buhler: ‘To have medalled at the worlds already just a year into equipped lifting is pretty crazy’

Parksville athlete Billy Buhler was happy to win a bronze medal, but said the experience is the prize he will treasure the most from his first IPF Sub-junior and Junior World Powerlifting Championships that was held recently in Regina.

Buhler ended up in fourth place overall against the top junior powerlifters in the world. He set personal bests in the squat and bench press, and in his combined total lift.

The 20-year-old achieved a combined weight of 825 kilograms (1,818.81 pounds) with a 330 kg (727 pound) squat, which earned him his bronze medal, 215 kg (474 pound) bench press, and a 280 kg (617 pound) deadlift.

Buhler was aiming to go 9-for-9 as he started well in the squats, posting a good lift in all his three attempts to finish third in that event. But in the bench press and in the deadlift he faltered and had no lifts in each event.

Although Buhler said he felt comfortable and had no butterflies at the world stage, he encountered a couple of curveballs that caught him off guard.

“The pace of the meet was very fast,” said Buhler. “There was just one flight of competitors unlike at the national or at provincial meet where there are two or three flights. And since there’s only one group, you get only a 20-minute break instead of an hour break.”

Being an equipped competition, Buhler said, he needed the 20 minutes to warm up quickly for the next event and get into another gear.

“There’s a lot of warm up you have to do in a small amount of time, so it was tight,” said Buhler.

“The warmups went really fast and being a bigger guy, I am not conditioned for that kind of thing. So that took me by surprise. I think that affected my total a little bit but knowing that now for next year, I can anticipate that and be a little bit better conditioned. It didn’t really ruined my whole day. I had a great day. It’s just something I did not foresee and had to adjust.”

Buhler was able to meet the competition and watch them lift. Although, they were lifting heavier weights, Buhler said it’s not going to alter his training and development.

“I need to work hard definitely but I also need to work smart as well,” said Buhler. “You just can’t go in and stack on a bunch of extra weights because you’re going to hurt yourself and you’re going to be unable to work. I think it’s just a matter of time and a consistent effort. In equipped lifting, it takes four to five years. I don’t think I have to change anything. I just need to put in more time.”

RELATED: Parksville powerlifter aims to medal on world stage

Buhler is still a newcomer in equipped powerlifting where the lifter uses equipment that can include athletic tape, special shoes, weightlifting belts, knee sleeves, bandage-like wraps to support joints, and bodysuits.

“The other lifters that I went up against are older than I am and had a couple of years of training, had more gear and experience,” said Buhler.

“I only have been doing this for a year. To have medalled at the worlds already just a year into equipped lifting is pretty crazy.”

Buhler said with more training, he projects that by next year, he will be up there at the podium.

“That’s definitely the goal next year,” said Buhler.

For now, he is going to take a break from lifting to recover. He had acquired a tighter suit and shirt that he said will help him in his training and during competition.

“By nationals next year I should have mastered that shirt and suit and hopefully that will help increase my total,” said Buhler. “I hope to achieve high 800 kilos at nationals and total around 900 kilos as well at worlds.”

Buhler thanked all his sponsors and other people who have supported his powerlifting quest.

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