Report on the Southern Masters Championships 2019

The annual Southern Masters Championships was held as usual in Bethnal Green Weightlifting club over 2 days: Saturday 16th November and Sunday 17th November and had nearly 100 lifters and their supporters that weekend. The event was professionally staged and conducted by the main organiser Mr Martin BASS.

I was both lifting (Session 1) and doing some refereeing on the two days so decided to travel up to East London by car. On both occasions I got up at 5 am to leave the house at 6 am so as to avoid the congestion! Arriving at the venerable old club with its 93-year history I could park in Turin street on the Saturday. Several lifters were waiting and we soon weighed in the lifters between 8 am and 9 am. Helping me was the great George Manners 1964 Olympics and Commonwealth 1962 and 1966 games silver medallist!

The atmosphere was excellent with more than 60 spectators each day watching and supporting. In the back were 3 platforms with Eleiko bars, and plates to warm up on. The first session of the 13 oldest male lifters M60, M65 and M70 started on time at 10:00 am. The great Andy Seaber managed 395 SMF points – one of his best scores ever and one that would beat the British Seniors this year!

David Mannion next to the great Andy Seaber and Mark Welch

I did OK getting a result about 3% down on my best at Rovaniemi, Finland (European Masters 2019) with 63 kg snatch and my opener 81 kg clean and jerk for a 144 kg total so beat the Qualifying total of 136 kg for the European Masters next year. The 2nd and 3rd attempts on 85 kg clean and jerk, which could have given me the 148 kg total needed for the world masters, were poor failures!

Refereeing the sessions were Sarah Hilton, Amelia, George Manners, Andy Seaber, Caroline Charles and myself. Ian Oswald and Steve Cannon took it in turn to be MC. The loaders were magnificent doing all 4 sessions. The next day also saw John Walton, Victoria Man, Daphne Harvey act as referees.

One lifter was very pleased and rightly so on Sunday with Ryan Morton lifting in the M50, 109+ kg class he attempted and succeeded with 91 kg snatch producing a new British Masters record! Well done!

There was some magnificent lifting by some of the ladies like Kelly WASH who managed 75 kg clean and jerk 3rd attempt. Also, the great Lou Herron, Elaine Sims and Jo MacManus performed very well exceeding 200 SMF points and showing us all how to lift well. They are an inspiration!

Caroline Charles (IWF Masters Hall of Fame) giving out the medals to W50 and W55 age groups.

Surrounded by photographs of previous World Champions like Eddy Pengelley 4 times World Powerlifting champion and other greats like Steve Zetolofsky, Ernie Parks etc, it was inspiring and everyone enjoyed themselves. Ian Couling (Chelmsford Barbell Club) was especially pleased with his 115 kg + 135 kg performance and 6/6 lifts.

Thanks to all the Officials, Loaders and to Bethnal Green Weightlifting club who gave up 2 whole days to this brilliantly run event. We look forward to 2020 with many of the lifters going on to the British Masters event 7th/8th March in Lilleshall and to the lucky few European Masters in Holland in May and even the World Masters Championships in Obrigheim, Germany around 28th August to 6th September 2020. Good luck!

The 1988 Seoul Olympian Matt VINE gives out the medals to men in the M35 and M40 age groups!

- David Mannion