Ian’s in fighting spirit for world domination

Ian’s in fighting spirit for world domination

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Ian Sullivan once bench pressed 182.5kg at the age of 53, and squatted 225kg just one year later.

Ian Sullivan is preparing to bench press himself into the history books, with a world record lift firmly in his sights.

The Byford powerlifter secured his ticket to the World Bench Press Championships 2025 in Norway after winning his fourth national title at the 2024 APLA Nationals Series in Newcastle in April.

As a proud ‘400-pound club’ member, he is ‘quietly confident’ that he will be able to bring what it takes to bench press 145kg and earn himself a world record next May.

Powerlifting is a strength sport that involves three main lifts: the squat, bench press, and deadlift.

Unlike Olympic weightlifting, which focuses on explosive movements, powerlifting emphasises maximal strength in these key lifts. To achieve success, a powerlifter needs to be a well-oiled machine.

“Cardio is essential to be successful at powerlifting,” Ian said. “You just can’t do a strength sport if your heart and lungs aren’t there.”

Ian has always been an athlete.

“I’ve been a runner since age 10,” he said.

“When the body releases endorphins it’s such a good feeling – I used to fly.”

As he hit his mid 30s, his mind was still willing, but his body began to flag on the track.

“I’ve got a very competitive spirit – the warrior within never leaves you,” he said.

“So, I put all my energy into my weights.”

And it wasn’t long until Ian started to taste success again. He was first scouted in the mid 80s to participate as a guest lifter at a state competition.

“Everything is done by invite,” he said. “I had no idea they were watching me, but when I was picked the feeling was amazing.”

After bringing home an array of precious metals in successive state and national comps, Ian was asked to represent his country at the Oceania Bench Press Championships 2004 in New Zealand – where he was duly rewarded with a gold medal.

Since then, he hasn’t looked back – representing Australia at seven world championships.

With four decades of experience in the sport, and more gold medals than fingers to count them on, Ian is still just as chuffed about his recent success as he ever was.

“To walk away with a gold medal at my age – 64 – was a feeling of pure elation,” he said.

“I wore my medal for 24 hours straight.”

Despite his myriad successes, he’s still yet to hit one elusive target: international gold.

With COVID scuttling his last shot at being the best in the world, he sees his journey to Norway as a comeback quest.

“I truly believe I would have got the gold medal in 2020 at the worlds, if everything wasn’t locked down,” he said.

“But defeat is the best thing a person can experience as long as they have the right attitude.

“I believe that anyone can achieve anything they want to with the right fighting spirit.

“And I’m unique in that I’ve got a never-say-die attitude. I won’t stop until I take out a gold at the worlds.”

While Ian is steadily making gains in the gym, he’s also working hard at securing the $5000 he needs to comfortably get to Norway to make his dream a reality.

He is currently fundraising at various pubs throughout the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale, and would be grateful for any local sponsorships.

To help him out, contact Ian Sullivan on 0400 007 236.