PROFILE - Graeme Quirke - NENAGH GUARDIAN SPORTS AWARD WINNER 2020
Graeme Quirke smashed three world records on his way to becoming an elite powerlifter at the Irish Powerlifting Organisation/Amateur Irish Powerlifting Championships in Limerick last September.
Competing in the M1 (40-43) age category, Graeme lifted 212.5kg in the bench press, breaking the previous his own previous record of 210kg. His dead lift of 265kg was five kilos above the previous M1 record, while he also backsquatted a whopping 315kg.
Graeme broke the combined total record of 775kg by a considerable margin - his 792.5kg now stands as the best M1 competitive record in the IPO, which is affiliated to the WPC (World Powerlifting Congress) and International Powerlifting League.
It has also elevated him to elite athlete status (any total over 785kg), a goal that Graeme had coveted since before he began competing in powerlifting in 2008.
“I was always into weightlifting, but I started powerlifting in 2008,” he said.
“It’s an individual sport number 1. It’s very challenging and one with a lot of energy and a lot of technique. It suits me and I love it.”
For many people, every four years in the Olympic Games is when weightlifting is shown on mainstream television, but Powerlifting is a different discipline altogether as Graeme explains: “In weightlifting you have the power, and clean & jerk, whereas in powerlifting you have a squat, a bench-press and a deadlift, and none of them are a part of Olympic weightlifting so they are different sports, but a lot of people do get mixed up between them.”
2020 will be a year Graeme will mark down as his best and aims for another two years in competition before calling it a day.
“I had a lifelong target and I reached it last year of lifting 785kg and I lifted 792.5kgs so for my category that was the highest total in the world across all the federations, so I was number one in the world. I plan on competing in one or two more major events, but I don’t plan on pushing it too far. I am fit and healthy and happy and have another year or two left but after that I’ll call it a day and just stay training,” he said.