Women’s Varsity Win for CUPLC in 2023 - A decade of victory

Cambridge 617.79 - Oxford 609.40 Results


Going into the Women’s Powerlifting Varsity this year, there was a lot riding on the day. It could be a tenth consecutive win for Cambridge, and a chance for the women’s team to prove our 2022 victory wasn’t just a one-off – or it could be the end of an era. We put everything we could into the run-up, including asking CUPLC alumni Lucy Hart (previous Women’s Captain), Elliot Vaughan (previous Social Media Officer) and Phuong Bui to help on the day. A big thanks also to the other CUPLC members who helped things run smoothly for the women’s team on the day: Bilal Chughtai and Clement Fong (Webmasters), Natalie Ho (Treasurer), Jane Ambler (Welfare & Stash Officer) and Karen Soh.

It was an early start at Oxford’s Iffley Road Sports Centre, but everyone made it on time to weigh-in, and then the rehydrating and fueling up began. We were anticipating a tough fight after seeing the announcement for the team Oxford had put together. Squats got off to a good start overall with nobody bombing out, despite a last-minute injury worry for Rachel Knight leading to us dropping her initial attempts. Lauren Domfe was the final squatter of all the women with an astonishing 170kg squat that flew up. The next heaviest squats on Cambridge’s team were Women’s Captain Amy Williams (69.7 BW) with a 142.5kg squat, and Ada Adamczyk (83.5 BW) with a 140kg squat in her first official competition.

By the time bench started, things were looking more promising for our team. Since the technical rules had recently become stricter, we were hoping our preparation had been enough, and that elbow depth and glute contact with the bench wouldn’t catch us out. Thankfully everyone made at least their second attempt, with Cambridge’s heaviest benches of the day being Amy Williams (69.7 BW) with 82.5kg, Ada Adamczyk (83.5 BW) with 77.5kg, and Rachel Knight (69 BW) with 75kg. The Oxford Women’s Captain Issy Dowling (67.1 BW) took biggest bench of the day with an impressive 87.5kg.

We were almost, but not quite, starting to relax as deadlifts began. Our lifters were mostly in the second flight of women, so depending on how the first flight’s deadlifts went, we’d have some leeway for adjusting attempts. After some very solid deadlifts in the first flight finishing with an absolutely unforgettable grind of a 157.5kg third attempt by Zara Guppy (66 BW), it was onto the last lifts of the day for both women’s teams. At this point Amy decided all our lifters should put in safe attempts to finish it and bring the cup home – and they did just that. The heaviest three Cambridge deadlifts were 160kg by Amy Williams (69.7 BW), 175kg for three red plates by Rachel Knight (69 BW) and, absolutely dominating the women’s deadlifts, an easy 190kg by Lauren Domfe (80.8 BW). We had won for the 10th consecutive year, and increased our GL point lead on the previous year for the women’s team – from 1.6 to 8.39 GL points.

I would like to congratulate the men’s team, captained by Raghul Parthipan, who achieved 94.96 GL points, the highest of all the men, and brought his own team to victory against Oxford. Well done to Anna Clay who achieved 86.91 GL points, the highest of all Oxford and Cambridge women, winning an SBD package alongside Raghul. And thank you to Oxford for hosting, along with South Midlands Powerlifting, all the referees, helpers and our Presidents Remi Rufus-Toye and Samin Moghimiasl for helping everything run so smoothly.