For Kait Mendall, it was the thrill of a lifetime.
For Kait Mendall, it was the thrill of a lifetime. She got the chance to compete against the best in the world at the International Powerlifting Federation championships in Japan last month. While she didn’t come home with a medal, it was an experience she will never forget.
"It was very exciting," she said. "There were thousands of lifters there spanning all divisions. It was the biggest event ever held."
Mendall traveled to Tokyo to compete in the championships on May 20. She is the American title holder in the women’s bench press in the 57 kilograms (125 pounds) weight class.
At the international event, Mendall tied her best bench-press lift of 102.5 kilos (226 pounds), finishing in ninth place. The seventh- and eighth-place finishers also made the same lift but placed higher due to lower body weights.
"I’m a little disappointed in my performance," she said. "I hit my best lift on my third try, so it was a small victory."
Mendall, who lives in Middleboro, trains at BayState CrossFit gym in Plymouth, where she also coaches women in the finer points of powerlifting. She works out there regularly, usually in the early mornings when she is alone and can concentrate on her form in the bench press.
Heading into the international championships, Mendall was ranked sixth in the world in her weight class. She was hoping to win a medal this year, but it was not meant to be.
"I tied my personal record, so I’m pleased with that," she said. "That lift would have given me the bronze medal last year."
It was a tough competition. In her division, the world record was broken six times by the top three lifters. The gold-medal winner, from Russia, won the event with a lift of 121 kilos – more than 266 pounds.
While disappointed by the outcome, Mendall said she loved being at the PDF championship. Hanging out with the other competitors after the meet was over was a big thrill.
"My favorite part was meeting other lifters from around the world at the banquet," she said. "At that point, everyone is done competing and can relax and have some fun."
Mendall traveled to Tokyo with her fiancé, John Penning, and coach Arian Khamesi. After the championship, they got to tour the city and experience a new culture.
"We were able to spend some time in Tokyo after the meet," she said. "We were in awe of how clean the city was and how organized the foot traffic was; there are lines on the sidewalks to show you where to walk. Some 14 million people commute by train and foot and nobody bumps into you or invades your personal space. It is frowned upon to eat or drink while walking, which keeps the streets and sidewalks clean and free from trash."
Traveling is not cheap and Mendall was responsible for most of the expenses. She is forever grateful to her friends at BayState CrossFit. They held a fundraiser before she left for the championships. It helped but the trip was still costly.
"It was worth every penny, though," she said.
Click this link to watch Kate Mendall tie her own personal record at the IPF championship: https://youtu.be/cwu8scH4cmM?t=4127.