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10/29/2014 7:30:40 PM - The Coach
The House of Biceps Competes!

Weightlifting: House of Biceps Nationals 2014 from Clint Darden on Vimeo.

After training Friday afternoon and coming home and taking my chemo, I didn't sleep at all Friday night. Alarm set for 7:00 and I was up at 6.

My wife and Angelos were competing and neither had been having great training sessions so we sat out on the goals of:
1) Get a total
2) Qualify for Europeans
3) Qualify for Worlds

Nefi has been weighing around 70-72 kg on our scale at home for the last few weeks so we figured she wouldn't make it into the 69 kg category so we wanted to be a strong big 75 kg. We opted to eat well Friday night and load up on as much electrolytes as possible all day to hold water. Same thing for breakfast. She got on the scale at 68.95 kg. Blew our minds but made our job a good bit easier with making totals.

Angelos has been sick, injured, working TONS, family was sick, I was sick, etc... This would also be his comeback to Weightlifting after 10 years! 5 years with no training AT ALL!

Nefi was looking good in warm ups, better than she had in training in a long time. With snatch she had not done a 45 that I thought was passable in months so we called for 40 as an opener. She did 40 for 2 singles in warm ups so we moved up to 42. It was very easy so next attempt was 45. Making 45 was very important because we only needed 57 clean and jerk to qualify for Worlds. She had not done a good 57 in training either but at least we had a great shot at it if we had to make 2 attempts to get it.

45 was good so the third attempt I let her take anything that she WANTED. She called for 50...a 2 kg PR. She lost it out front a bit and missed the lift but after watching it in slow motion she could have power snatched it which means she is capable of a 55 kg power snatch and a 60+ snatch right now!

She moved on to clean and jerk and we had signed up to open with 50 and we moved that to 55. 55 was very sharp and almost too light. The important thing now was to get 57 kg to total 102 so with 2 attempts left at it...we felt very good. 57 was loaded and she smoked it.

We went to the back and I called for 60 to be loaded on the bar (this would give us a few lifters between attempts to allow for a rest). She looked at me and said:
"What did I miss at Worlds"
"I want 61 on the bar, right now."

I waited till they called her name as being up THEN I called for an increase to 61. This would give her an extra 15-20 seconds to prepare since the loaders would have to run back to the bar to add an extra 1/2 kg per side.

Needless to say, she smoked it!

Nefi's celebration began and Angelos began warm ups.

He needed 200 kg for Europeans and 225 for Worlds. Being honest, I was afraid that he would do something crazy and open with a PR attempt and bomb out. He called for 100 as an opener which I wasn't completely happy with but his warm ups looked good AND his technique normally improves once he is around or over 100 kg on snatch. Warm ups went really well and we were confident.

He walked onto the platform for the first time in 10 years, as THE FIRST Weightlifter in Cyprus...making his return. THE Pioneer for Cyprus. 100 kg snatch went into the books and he was in the meet.

Called for 107 on his second. He didn't finish the pull and lost it out in front of him.

Called for 110 and I told him to set up with the bar on the back end of the platform to give himself a chance to chase the bar if he needed to. He did and he did...and he nailed it!!!!

110 was very important because it gave us A LOT of wiggle room on the clean and jerk! With a sore shoulder he could open with 100 and qualify for Europeans and/or nail 115 to qualify for Worlds. He called 115 for his opener.

It was so light that he actually power cleaned it and then squatted it the rest of the way down. The jerk was TOO light and he was possibly "gifted" the lift as a strict set of judges might not have given it to him...but it was too light and it got three white lights which meant he was qualified for Worlds!

Everything next was just HAVING FUN!!!! We stayed calm and he called for 130. His plan was that if he made 130 he would "go for it" with 140. He rested too long between attempts and he lost the 130 out in front on the jerk but it was light. He could repeat but then he would get no rest so he called for 132 to get a full 2-4 minutes of rest between attempts.

His 132 was amazing to see! Highlight of the entire contest and done in true STYLE! Nailed it, three white lights, HE IS BACK!

For me to say that I am proud would be an understatement. I am MORE THAN PROUD of these two. Both of my training wife and my friend are both qualified for Europeans and Worlds.

In the end, I must say that Masters Weightlifting does not get near the credit that they deserve. My wife, Angelos, and Denise work 2-3 jobs each, have gone through amazing hardships, health issues, training and personal battles, and still qualified for Europeans and Worlds. On top of that...they were the ONLY athletes to qualify for anything else at this competition and they were the ONLY athletes to not be recognized for their achievements. Those three people, my friends, are the spirit of the definition of Masters Weightlifting.

The House of Biceps,
Clint Darden

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