The 120-kilogram class at the 2023 International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) Equipped World Championships (WEC) from Nov. 13-18, 2023, in Druskininkai, Lithuania, saw an intense battle for the IPF squat world record. It was broken three times in a clash between Sen Yang (TPE) and Danylo Kovalov (UKR), who met on the lifting platform for the first time.
Sen Yang squatted 447.5 kilograms (987 pounds) for his second squat attempt, adding seven kilograms (15.5 pounds) to his IPF world record. A few minutes later, Kovalov called for 448 kilograms (988 pounds) to claim the record. He clearly hadn’t found his top end at 120-kilograms as it didn’t seem to be a struggle for him.
As Sen Yang approached the platform for his final attempt of 452.5 kilograms, there was a visible bend in the Eleiko competition barbell. He was controlled and upright throughout the descent, and the single-ply equipment — squat suit and knee wraps — rewarded him with a fast ascent that was quicker than his second attempt. Take a look at all three lifts in the video below, courtesy of the IPF Instagram page:
Sen Yang has been a heavy squatter his entire powerlifting career. At his first IPF WEC in 2015, Sen Yang squatted 400 kilograms (882 pounds) in the 105-kilogram class, and he steadily improved ever since.
Sen Yang moved into the 120-kilogram class in 2019 and took his first shot at the squat world record in Stavanger, Norway, at the 2021 IPF WEC. He squatted 437.5 kilograms (964.5 pounds) that day but suffered disappointment when his grip failed, leaving him without a successful deadlift to post a total. In the IPF, a squat world record must be accompanied by a total to be accepted, so Sen Yang forfeited his would-be IPF squat world record.
However, it all came together for Sen Yang at the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, AL. He secured the record with an impressively quick 440 kilograms (882 pounds). He added half a kilo (one pound) at the 2022 WEC in Viborg, Denmark. That’s where it stood as the 2023 IPF WEC kicked off. Check out the lift below:
Ukraine’s Danylo Kovalov was IPF equipped Sub-Junior World Champion in 2014 and Junior champion from 2017-19. At the 2021 WEC in Stavanger, Norway, Kovalov became the Open World Champion, too. At that point, Kovalov was competing in the 105-kilogram class but moved to the 120-kilogram class in 2023.
Sen Yang was the first to break the record at the 2022 World Games. The IPF world records were reset in 2011 following a shake-up of the weight categories. The records weren’t left blank, though. The IPF set a standard for each record to be met or exceeded to claim it. The standard for the equipped 120-kilogram class was set at 430 kilograms. It took 11 years for anyone to meet it.
The next time Sen Yang and Kovalov meet in sanctioned competition is in Reykjavík, Iceland, at the 2024 WEC.
Featured image: @theipf on Instagram