The History of Powerlifting

The History

It all started with the International Powerlifting Federation. The sport originated from Weightlifting where the “odd lifts” then became recognised and put into a different format.

The first “genuine” National meet for powerlifting was held in 1964 at the York Barbell Company in the US and the progression began from there in the USA and UK and then started to develop in other countries.

In the UK the original powerlifting federation was BAWLA – British Amateur Weightlifting Association and from that emerged one man to start the beginning of the powerlifting revolution in the UK. David Carter.

David Carter left BAWLA and began a new federation called the British Powerlifting Organisation which was an “equipped” federation allowing lifters to wear single ply equipment and was affiliated to the World Powerlifting Congress – who we are affiliated to today. He transformed powerlifting in the UK taking it new levels and provided lifts with choice of which federation they lifted in and was determined to create a supportive and encouraging environment which is what we learned from him. During this time other UK federations began to emerge from Davis Carters first steps.

The British Powerlifting Organisation then made a decision to move away from the WPC and they joined the World Powerlifting Federation. With that move, the lifters who wanted to stay with the BPC formed a new federation by the name of the BPC – the British Powerlifting Congress.

Again, powerlifting took another massive leap forward and Brian Batcheldor and his wife Vanessa headed this movement into making the competitions spectacular and hosted in venues like the NEC and the BIC in Bournemouth. They also took the federation into the multi ply divisions opening up even more opportunity for lifters in what equipment they wanted to use. Vanessa Batcheldor was one of the best female powerlifters we ever had in this country squatting over 200kg at 60kg in bodyweight which still stands as a world record.

From here the British Powerlifting Union was formed, staying with the World Powerlifting Congress as our governing body with the emphasis of bringing back the element of “run by powerlifters, for powerlifters” and the element of support which can be lost at elite levels. Our aim is to progress the sport and provide opportunity at the amateur level in a structured way to encourage new lifters to the sport and provide a grass roots platform to develop from to national and international competition at the elite level.

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