A worthy record mark for a stellar athlete.

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The 2023 International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) World Bench Press Championships saw a number of hallowed records fall. One of them now belongs to 50-year-old Dutch powerlifter lelja Strik, who helped rewrite the record books during the upper body, single-lift strength contest that took place on May 20-28, 2023, in Sun City, South Africa.

By the competition’s end, Strik recorded a 132.5-kilogram (292.1-pound) raw bench press on her best attempt. The figure is a raw Masters 2 (ages 50 to 59) World Record in Strik’s 84-kilogram division, where the athlete came in first place thanks to her top lift. Strik utilized wrist wraps during her record milestone but otherwise completed the bench press completely raw.

Strik, who is a frequent and successful single-lift bench press specialist at competitions, broke the record in commanding fashion. The previous mark of 123 kilograms (271.1 pounds) was set by Tammy Walker at the 2019 NAPF North American Regional Bench Press Championships. In her recent performance, Strik broke the record on her very first bench press attempt (125 kilograms/275.5 pounds), inched the record higher with her next attempt (127.5 kilograms/281.1 pounds), and finished the day with her decisive lift.

Per her personal page on Open Powerlifting, Strik is a seasoned powerlifter, beginning her sanctioned career over two decades ago at the 2001 Nederlandse Powerlifting Bond (NPB) Dutch Powerlifting Championships. In the time since, Strik has recorded an astonishing 100 separate victories in single-lift or full-power meets, both raw and equipped in some capacity. There’s prolific and then there’s seemingly competing and thriving in every opportunity thrown one’s way. Strik appears to fit more of the latter description as an athlete.

Here’s an overview of Strik’s all-time raw competition bests:

lelja Strik | All-Time Raw Competition Bests

  • Squat — 209.9 kilograms (462.9 pounds)
  • Bench Press — 144.9 kilograms (319.6 pounds)
  • Deadlift — 209.9 kilograms (462.9 pounds)
  • Total — 556.9 kilograms (1,227.9 pounds)

Strik’s competitive resume is mostly Dutch-oriented, but the athlete can count various European and International World raw and equipped titles throughout her extensive resume.

While impossible to confirm outright, Strik could be reasonably viewed as one of the most productive powerlifters in the history of strength sports. That makes her latest accomplishment yet another impressive notch in the athlete’s lifting belt.

Featured image: @theipf on Instagram

About Robert Zeglinski

Robert is a seasoned and adept editor and writer with a keen, passionate penchant for the writing craft. He’s been a leader in newsrooms such as SB Nation, USA TODAY, and WBBM Newsradio, with various other content and art production teams, and first made a name for himself in his hometown of Chicago. When not knee-deep in research or lost in a stream of consciousness for a thorough piece, you can find Robert inhaling yet another novel, journaling his heart out, or playing with his Shiba Inu, Maximus (Max, for short).

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