News: Sledgehammer soldier sets powerlifting records
Story by Sgt. Christopher Johnston
FORT BENNING, Ga. - Capt. Donald Bigham, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, competed in the Raw Nationals Powerlifting Championships held in Orlando, Fla., July 18, through July 21, in the Masters Division, 83 kilogram weight class.
During the competition, Bigham set four new American powerlifting records. He broke the records for the Military Division in the squat, deadlift and bench press events which have been in place since 2010, and also broke the squat record in the Masters Division, set in 2008.
“This event allows you to qualify for international or world tournaments or the Arnold Classic,” said Bigham. “There are only two opportunities to do that in the calendar year, and the Raw Nationals is one of those two.”
Out of more than 350 lifters that participated in the Raw Nationals, Bigham competed against 27 other athletes in his weight class.
“In the squat, my second lift I did 479 pounds and broke the record of 473 pounds,” said Bigham. “Then I turned around and broke my own record and did 502.”
With his performance in the Raw Nationals, Bigham qualified to attend the 2014 Arnold Sports Festival at Columbus, Ohio, Feb. 28, through March 3.
“At the Arnold Sports Festival there [are] going to be 18,000 athletes competing in 45 different events,” explained Bigham. “I will be one of only 75 Americans that are allowed to compete in the Raw Powerlifting event.”
“I am definitely excited to have an opportunity not only to represent my family, but to represent the Army as well.”
Bigham is considering forming a team of Soldiers from Fort Benning to compete in the Military Nationals which are scheduled to take place April 2014.
“Powerlifting transfers to combat very well,” said Bigham. “There are not too many times, as a combat soldier, that you are just using your upper body. Usually you are doing more with your core or your lower half whether you are moving in your combat equipment or climbing an obstacle.”
Bigham’s goal is to increase his total weight lifted by 75 pounds at the Arnold Sports Festival in order to be competitive with the world’s top athletes in his weight class.