Winner - Club of the Year | Sport at Cambridge skip to content

Winner - Club of the Year

The winner of the Club of the Year… Cambridge University Powerlifting Club!

With successes throughout the whole club, from member recruitment to a strong committee, novice engagement to club competition, Varsity success, national titles and international recognition at the World University Championships, CUPLC have had a fantastic year.

Many other clubs including the three other shortlistees have had amazing achievements over the past year too, but the breadth of success for CUPLC is remarkable. The breadth of that success is laid out in a nomination from Elliot.


“CUPLC continues to go from strength to strength as the club grows and improves. This year there was a push to improve participation of beginner lifters and make the club more inclusive for women. CUPLC has tried to dispel stereotypes of hypermasculinity in powerlifting. Last year out of the 110 club members only 20 were women, compared to this year where there are 51 women out of 147 members. The club holds a novice competition around November as a way to teach new members how to prepare for a competition. Last academic year there were 15 participants, of whom 3 were female. This year we had 29 participants, 14 of which were female.

The Varsity team is selected based on scores which consider body weight, gender and weight lifted. In previous years our Varsity team out of 16 lifters has never included more than 2 women. However, this year we had 5 very deserving women on our team, one of whom was our highest scoring lifter on the day. CUPLC has been totally dominant in the Varsity match, with eight consecutive victories as of this year. A major milestone which has taken place this year is that our Varsity match is now an official IPF powerlifting meet. This has been a goal since 2011 and is a major accomplishment, especially as this year qualifying totals from official IPF powerlifting meets must be achieved for athletes to compete at BUCS.

Club participation has improved for new members with the introduction of a development squad. 39 novice lifters have been assigned to our experienced members to provide them with a programme and mentor. This has led to some rapid progress from many beginners, as well as improving their dedication and consistency to training, which shows from the number of lifters who have decided to compete in official powerlifting meets. By this time last academic year only 11 lifters had competed in official meets. This year 24 athletes have competed in official meets, without including the athletes who competed at Varsity. Including them, a mighty 32 lifters have competed in official powerlifting meets since September. This is fantastic to see as competing is arguably what separates powerlifters from everyone that lifts weights.

In terms of performance CUPLC has had a very successful year. During the 2019 Easter holidays the club sent 31 lifters to compete at the men and women's British University Championships. Across both teams Cambridge performed excellently, coming back with six medals: three first place finishes, two seconds and one third. This gave our men's team 1st place by an enormous margin (for reference, the difference between first and second was 198.6 points, whereas the difference between 2nd and 6th was only 180.269 points). A notable highlight was Salman Khan breaking the British deadlift record for theU83kg weight class with a very impressive 305.5kg lift (record has since been broken).

Both of our teams qualified for the World University Championships in Estonia, where Remi Rufus-Toye managed to secure a bronze medal. Overall our men's team came 6th/40 and women's team 11th/41. Considering the incredibly high standard of lifting in this competition this was an excellent performance from both teams. After University Worlds CUPLC had three athletes representing Great Britain on an individual basis - Raghul Parthipan, Amrita Panesar and Lucy Hart. Raghul and Amrita both represented team GB at the European bench press championships, having been selected by winning the British bench press championships earlier on in the year. Amrita managed to secure herself the bronze medal in the U52kg category, and Raghul still managed to hit a PB despite competing as part of the Cambridge University Worlds Team only two weeks earlier.

Lucy Hart competed at the Western European Open Equipped Championships as part of team GB. This was her third international competition of the year, having previously represented team GB at the European Open Equipped Championships in May 2019 and competed as part of our University Worlds team. The next event on the powerlifting calendar was the British Junior Championships, where men's captain Remi Rufus-Toye performed tremendously obtaining a very comfortable first place finish. Later on women's captain Lucy Hart competed in the British Open Equipped Championship and obtained a bronze medal as well as an invite to the Open Worlds Equipped Championships, which will be taking place in May this year.

The number of achievements from club members is growing each year alongside the popularity of powerlifting. The experience of the club’s older members gets passed to new members, providing them with a wealth of knowledge about powerlifting. Many alumni keep up powerlifting after graduation and still like to get involved with club events where possible. The club’s success comes down to a great culture and atmosphere, which helps build confidence in our new members and encourages them to make the most of their lifting potential.”

Elliot V.


A massive congratulations to CUPLC!

Don’t forget that voting is still open for the Sporting Moment of the Year Award until 10PM on Tuesday 28th April. Watch the videos here and share your favourite on social media & tag us in your posts!


To view the shortlisted nominations, please click here