Daly defies logic to lift world lifting title

by Dave Donnelly
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Monkstown powerlifter Ryan Daly saw the benefits of a 20 kilo drop in weight as he took home a world championship medal in Malta last week.

Daly made the decision to make a drastic weight cut from 100kg – in which he was already world champ – to 82kg earlier this year.

And the former boxer, who only took up the sport two years ago, saw his hard work pay off as he was crowned junior champion in his new weight class.

Daly took the title with a lift of 240 kilos, the same weight he lifted to take the title last year, despite shedding almost 20% of his bodyweight in between.

The 22-year-old – who funds his entirely amateur pursuit through his day job in Eason’s in Dun Laoghaire – has now turned his attention to confirming his status in European lifting.

“There were about 30 nations [competing], and I took first overall in the 82 kilo weight class as a junior,” Daly told the Dublin Gazette.

“This is a new division for me. Last year I won them both in the 100 kilo weight class, and this year I won them in the 82.”

The drop down in weight class – a particularly ballsy move as he bypassed the 90kg category – was motivated by his determination to push his body to its limits.

Contrary to popular wisdom that the heavier you are the stronger you are, Daly feels he’s become stronger since shedding the weight.

He feels that, had he needed to, he could have pushed himself to a lift of 250kg or beyond, but he lifted conservatively in order to ensure he took home gold.

“I’ve gotten stronger since. I’ve trimmed and gotten stronger, so I’ve had the best of both worlds.

“That’s why I dropped down.

“The 82 kilo weight class and the 90 kilo weight class are the most competitive classes in my federation. That’s why I dropped down – I knew it would be very competitive.”

Having trained for months at the Angels Powerlifting club in Stillorgan, it all came down to a mere 30-minute, three-lift stint on the Mediterranean island.

The Dubliner insists all the preparation was worth it, and he was happy to see his physical feat attract enough attention to warrant a second drug test in as many years.

“I was drug tested – two years running now! Last year, I weighed in at 98 kilos and I pulled 240 kilos, and this year I weighed in at 82 kilos and I pulled 240 kilo.

“Even though I lost 20 kilos, I was still stronger on the day.

“They’re like ‘this probably shouldn’t happen but we need to test him anyway’.

“Last year, ten or 12 Irish athletes were tested and they all came back with good results.”

After the European Championships later this year, Daly plans to move from the smaller Drug-Free Powerlifting Federation to the more mainstream Irish Powerlifting Federation.

“I’ll be talking about it with my coach, but the IPF is the bigger federation with more competition, but Worlds for IPF next year is a big target for myself – international is where it is.”

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