On top of the world
Powerlifting: EMERALD powerlifter Cass Pickard fought off the pressure and came home last week as world champion.
Pickard came out on top during the 2018 IPF World Championships in Calgary, Canada, winning the 2018 M1 -63kg IPF Powerlifting World Champion title back to back with her unbelievable 147.5kg squat, 75kg bench press and 195kg deadlift.
But her incredible accomplishment wasn't smooth sailing.
In fact, Pickard only managed six out of nine lifts.
She described her incredible journey to returning world champion as a "roller-coaster”, full of highs and lows.
"I am very proud of this competition, but it was a bit of a roller-coaster,” Pickard said.
After passing weigh-in with flying colours, Pickard went straight out back to warm up for the first lift of the day - squats.
"I am happy that squats are always up first because technically they are the hardest lift for me,” she said.
"I went out there and got my first opener, which was 142.5kg. It didn't feel too bad, a little bit wobbly on the way up, but I got it and that put me on the board and in the competition.
"When I went to see my coaching staff out back I told them my belt felt tight because I was feeling bloated. The coach said, 'you'll be right', so I went out to squat 147.5kg, which I have hit numerous times, and I missed it - I didn't have anything to come up.
"The belt had to be adjusted. We just got the belt back on in time for the last lift, it felt perfect. I went back out there for the final squat and nailed 147.5kg.”
With only 20 minutes to warm up before bench press, nothing could prepare Pickard for what she described as the most "heartbreaking” moment of the competition.
"I missed my 72.5kg bench press opener,” she said. "No one misses an opener.
"Your openers are something you can easily triple, it is just for confidence and gets you on the board.”
She went back out and "nailed” her second and third lift at 75kg.
The last lift for the competition was the deadlift and Pickard was attempting 185kg, which was the biggest opener by 20kg.
"I went out there and smoked it, I knew I had it, it was a great opener,” she said.
"My second lift was 192.5kg, which was my current PB, and I knew I had that. Pulled that with no dramas, put it down and they said, 'no lift'.
Pickard was confused, thinking she had a "beautiful lift”, however she was pulled up because her right shoulder didn't lock out properly.
Wanting to aim for a PB over the title, she walked back up to the platform to lift 195kg.
"The girl who was currently in first place went out to lift before me and she pulled hers and started celebrating, saying she had won,” she said.
"I had to turn my back and just get in my own zone.
"For a split second I pictured in my head how that lift was going to feel when I got it.
"I pictured my husband, my kids and my coach cheering 'yes, you're the world champion'.
"I just walked out there, picked it up and got it.”
Pickard said, even though she only managed six out of nine lifts, they were all "well earned”.
Back at home in Emerald, still celebrating her win with friends and family, Pickard decided to take a well-deserved break from powerlifting to spend some time with her family before hitting the gym again this week.
She is hard at work training for an upcoming in-house competition next month in Canberra with RealFITT.