Soldiers push their bodies to the limits during powerlifting competition in Afghanistan
November 22, 2011
CAMP MARMAL, Afghanistan -- He stood there poised, ready to put his body to the test. As sweat dropped from his pores, Sgt. Brian Patterson took a deep breath and seemingly released every last grain of physical exertion that lurked inside of him. As he successfully lowered and raised 565 pounds perched on his upper back, camera flashes from a crowd of roughly 100 Soldiers and civilians filled the scene.
Patterson was one of the more than 40 participants who took part in a powerlifting competition that took place Nov. 20 at the Camp Marmal Gym.
The competition consisted of three main categories: squats, bench lifting and dead lifting.
The event, that was open to all personnel stationed at Marmal, divided up the participants by weight category and gender, and rules for the competition were derived from USA Powerlifting Federation standards.
"This was a great opportunity for everyone to come out and show what they can do," said Patterson, a technical inspector assigned to Company B, 615th Aviation Support Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, originally from Effingham, Ill.
Furthermore, the competition served as an opportunity to enhance espirit de corps among the gym enthusiasts here at Marmal, added Patterson, whose workout regimen consists of six days a week, two hours each day at the gym.
The event was organized by Spc. Carlos Figueroa, an aircraft pneudraulics repairer also assigned to Company B, 615th ASB, 1st ACB, from Sacramento, Calif.
Figueroa talked about his reasons for taking the initiative to put the competition together.
"We wanted something that would promote physical fitness, but also an event that would get everyone together to have a good competition that would be fun for all," said Figueroa.
Physical fitness is extremely important when Soldiers are in a deployed environment, said Capt. David Florez, a logistics officer, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st ACB, originally from Premont, Texas.
"It [physical fitness] is something that I firmly believe in, and that's part of what motivated me to help get the word out about the competition," added Florez, who also helped organize the event.
"The turnout among the participants and those who just came to watch was a lot more than we anticipated," said Florez. "I think a lot of people who attended had never seen a meet conducted like this, and from what I gathered, a lot of them came away impressed with what they saw."
Everyone really seemed to enjoy themselves and many of the participants are already asking about the next competition, added Figueroa.
Figueroa is planning for the next competition to be held within the next few months, and he hopes the prospect of another competition will motivate the competitors to continue to excel in the area of physical fitness.
"Events like this add to the overall competitiveness that you see here in the gym on a daily basis," said Figueroa. "People have something to shoot for now."