Things you need to know about the 2021 World Open Classic Powerlifting Championships

Over 600 athletes are competing in the biggest powerlifting event of the year in Halmstad, Sweden. Who are the stars? You can watch the IPF competition live on Olympic Channel via Olympics.com.

By Evelyn Watta
Powerlifting
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Powerlifters return to Sweden for the 2021 World Open Classic Powerlifting Championships from 29th September to 3rd October in Halmstad.

There’s plenty of world-class action to follow across the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) categories, with some big battles expected in the men’s 105kg and the women’s 57kg and 79kg classes.

Olympic Channel will stream live action of the men's and women's World Open competition from 29th September to 3rd October and you can watch right here on Olympics.com during those dates.

Here is a quick guide on the top lifters competing, the classes of events to follow, some of the favourites for medals, and how to watch.

World Open Classic Powerlifting competition

There are a total of sixteen events across the two genders.

The eight men's categories include 120 lifters, while 87 female competitors are also spread out across eight classes.

The competition for males ranges from 59kg to +120kg, while women line up from 47kg to over +84kg.

The World Open Championships is the main draw in Halmstad, but there are several other events at the Eleiko's Halmstad headquarters, the venue for the Championships.

The sub-juniors, juniors, and masters events are taking place from 23rd to 28th September, prior to the World Open competitions.

The lifters will measure up with three powerlifts in the squat, bench press, and deadlift.

Usually there are two categories of powerlifting with separate competitions.

They are raw (also known as 'un-equipped'), and equipped powerlifting.

At the IPF Worlds, competitors practise equipped powerlifting, meaning they can wear squat/deadlift suits and knee wraps to facilitate their lifting.

The battle of the heavyweights

Double world men’s classic champion Anatolii Novopismennyi goes in as a clear favourite in Halmstad. The 2019 World Champion in the -93 kg has moved up to the -105 kg category and is already bossing the class.

The talented lifter debuted with spectacular results in the first IPF Classic Powerlifting Championship Club in August.

He mastered 360 kg in the squat, 232 kg of press bench, and 340 kg of deadlift for a massive 932 kg which was also a Ukrainian record for the -105 kg category.

In the absence of American Ashton Rouska, who totalled 950.5kg in the Raw Nationals, Novopismennyi, is the man to beat.

American lifters will miss the World Open Championships as USA Powerlifting was suspended by the IPF following WADA noncompliance.

Novopismennyi will come up against Levon Tavakalov, a double world junior champion for Russia who is seeded second with a total of 900kg, and local hero Emil Norling. The Swede is just 23 but has caused a stir in the lifting world.

Norling was undefeated as a junior and was superb when he heaved to gold in the Open class at the 2019 European Classic Championships.

Frenchman Panagiotis Tarinidis leads the race for gold in the 66kg, and is hoping to break the world record in a rare competition outside his home country.

Tarinidis has had some solid workouts this season with the highlight being his training session in February when he amassed 725 kg from his bench press, back squat, and deadlift.

That lift bettered the world record in the 66kg by a whopping 20kg, but since they were training lifts and were not recorded at a sanctioned powerlifting competition, it was not considered an official record.

Also worth keeping an eye on is his compatriot Paul Rembauville, another fast-rising junior who clinched the 2019 Euro gold in the 74kg class.

Close contests in the women’s 57kg and 69kg

The women’s 57kg could be one of the most exciting women’s categories to watch. It has 2019 World Open Classic champion Maria Htee, who is looking to defend the title she won in Helsingborg.

The record-breaking powerlifter, who was born in Thailand, moved to Canada with her Burmese parents as a refugee. She set two world records for her weight class at the 2019 Commonwealth Championships.

There should be a pretty intense battle in the class that features Great Britain duo of Joy Nnamani and Bobbie Butters.

Nnamani is a two-time world champion in the classic and open classic in the 52kg. She is also the reigning Euro gold medallist in the 57kg.

Butters on the other hand is a bronze medallist in the open classic in the 57 kilos.

Donna Berglund, the bench press expert who is a continental winner is also keen on bagging the host nation’s gold from this competitive class.

The US Virgin Islands lifters could reign supreme in the women’s 69kg.

Experienced Kimberly Walford who is still controlling the podiums at 43, is a four-time world champion but has Chandler Babb closing in the gap on the cumulative lifts.

Walford who joined Russian Sergey Fedosienko on six Classic world titles with victory in the -72kg class at the 2019 worlds, has a 2.5kg advantage at 532.5 over her compatriot Babb (530).

There is also Brazilian Ana Castellain, who has had many outstanding career lifts including the astonishing world record in the 72kg in 2017. She should offer a good fight for the podium.

Jessica Buettner, one of the most talented powerlifters in history, continues to impress despite being diabetic. She was second in 2019 but after shattering three unofficial world records in 2020, the ‘Canadian forklift’ is a front runner for gold in the 76kg.