United Through Sports: United in Powerlifting “ The power to lift others up ”

The International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) held their IPF World Open Powerlifting Championships in Dubai, UAE on the 17-23rd November. UTS was invited to power up with IPF to deliver a forum which was to be the first ever making history for the IPF Family. Coordinated by UTS CEO Julia Govinden and IPF Managing Director Emanuel Scheiber, the event began with a conference focusing on topics including: inclusivity across different abilities, Powerlifting as a sport for all, promoting Powerlifting as a means towards a healthy and active lifestyle and gender equality amongst other topics.

The audience was a blend of IPF athletes and delegates, leaders from the sports world, the Dubai sporting community and general public. With the inclusion of Special Olympic Powerlifters, the event brought much needed awareness and demonstrated how IPF encourage inclusivity and also give opportunities for competition.

IPF President Gaston Parage welcomed the guests, competitors and the sports world under the presence of the Olympic Channel who were stationed in the stadium to capture all IPF events. Mr Parage commended the united efforts towards facilitating dialogue to address not only the progress and achievements of IPF, but also to discuss their direction for the future.

The powerful keynote presentation was given by GAISF Vice President and AIMS President Stephan Fox who stated ”The sport of Powerlifting is very unique and witnessing the Special Olympics athletes, clearly shows that Powerlifting definitely has the power to lift others”. Mr Fox went on to congratulate the IPF Leadership and encouraged them to continue their work not just towards the growth and development of IPF, but towards society at large.

CEO of the International World Games Association Joachim Gossow spoke earnestly to the audience about IWGA’s long standing cooperation with IPF and his experience of seeing the sport grow over the years.

The audience was given the pleasure of hearing from Ms Jennifer Thompson a world renowned and celebrated IPF Champion. Ms Thompson shared her journey through the sport and how it has shaped all aspects of her life. She expressed the vital role education plays in the world of sports and her pride through the IPF Social Project “Iron Sisters” which works to empower female athletes to support one another and society.

A panel discussion followed with moderation by Ms Julia Govinden and panellists: Gaston Parage, Stephan Fox, Joachim Gossow and Jennifer Thompson where many crucial points came to light. The discussion encouraged open dialogue related to how IPF promotes their “sport for all” ethos, the underlying factors that contribute to the unique power of sports,  the future of IWGA and inclusivity as well as exploring what other sport federations can do to inspire positive social change. The event came to a close when Ms Govinden thanked the IPF family for bringing everyone together to discuss, to understand and importantly, to learn.

A special honour was given to IPF on the 23rd November as the SportAccord and GAISF President Raffaele Chiulli addressed IPF Executives and showed his pride to be a part of the event. Mr Chiulli thanked the President for the invitation and was able to witness the Super Heavyweight Division where record breaking performances were achieved. President Chiulli honoured President Gaston for his work within IPF but also for his contribution to sports and closed his speech by thanking the IPF executives for their hard work as a member of the GAISF family.

The future is certainly bright for the International Powerlifting Federation and we look forward to our continued cooperation with IPF towards a prosperous 2020.