Powerlifting America secures a home in Clay County


FLEMING ISLAND – Powerlifting America recently held its first Florida meet on Fleming Island at the Steel Mill Fleming Island gym. More than 20 lifters competed in this event. Powerlifting has become a staple of Northeast Florida in the past few years. Groups like USAPL, USPA, World Powerlifting Congress, and Powerlifting America have held events here as Northeast Florida is becoming a hotbed for strength sports.

This first meet comes on the heels of the biggest news story in recent American powerlifting history. Powerlifting America as of the beginning of the year is now the official American arm of the IPF (International Powerlifting Federation). Previously USAPL (USA Powerlifting) was the IPF representative for over 40 years. The issue involves drug testing, which itself is a hot topic in sports, especially with gender issues at the forefront.

The IPF was demanding that USAPL conform to the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) protocol, which would be administered by USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency). To be clear the USAPL drug tests their athletes, in fact way more than the standard WADA country. The issue it seems is pertains to WHO is doing the testing. USAPL has always done their own testing whereas the IPF wanted them to use USADA instead.

There are different talking points about this including the cost of testing. The hard part for this comes when you look at the people associated with the sport. From meet directors to judges to athletes, everyone has had to choose where to lift and who to work for. Robert Keller who was the Florida head of USAPL is now the US head for Powerlifting America. Many of the judges for USAPL were “IPF International judges,” which means nothing since the IPF removed USA Powerlifting after a 2/3 vote in Norway in November, 2021.

New IPF rules also state that any lifter, coach, or judge who takes part in ANY non-Powerlifting America meet will have a 12-month suspension from the national competition. This has caused a split and some decisions on all parties. It is a story that continues to unfold as the weeks and months go by. The sport of Powerlifting has been trying to become and Olympic Sport and this may be one step closer.

One thing is for sure: powerlifting is here to stay in Clay County. This is great for those of any age who want to compete and especially great for our youth lifters who now have off-season competitions to test their strength in. This also allows for a national stage to be seen. While we wait to see how the powerlifting soap opera in America pans out, we in Clay County get to keep on lifting.


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