GAPLF will not allow athletes “to violate our rules”

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Executives of the Guyana Amateur Powerlifting Federation (GAPLF) are standing firm to their decision to suspend talented powerlifter, Carlos Petterson-Griffith, for a period of 12 months after he failed to notify the Executive Members of his participation in a Barbados StrongFit competition on May 4-5.

At press briefing Monday, GAPLF President Ed Caesar vehemently stated there was no victimisation on their part, given that the suspension puts a damper on his athlete’s participation at the World Classic Powerlifting Championships in Sweden on June 15.

“As an executive, we have since moved forward to progressively work with Petterson to ensure that he is promoted within our sport; we recognise that his success at the World Championships would have been a success for the federation, but we refuse to allow an athlete who has been made aware on three occasions, with his acknowledgement being on record (of the exact provision, 14.9 of the IPF Constitution), to violate our rules and rest in the comfort of accusing this Executive of victimisation for his blatant disregard to rules,” Caesar explained.

GAPLF President Ed Caesar

The legality of the issue at hand is based on International Powerlifting Federation’s Constitution which states under article 14.9.1: “Any lifter, coach, referee or official who competes or participates in an international Powerlifting or Bench Press competition not organised, sanctioned or approved by the IPF shall not be permitted to take part in any IPF international or regional competition for a period of 12 months from the date of that non-approved competition.”

Caesar indicated that “three days prior to the event, Petterson was in the presence of the Executive members at a function and even then did not indicate his desire to compete in Barbados.”

GAPLF Championship Secretary, Martin Webster, clarified that despite the competition having a ‘strong man’ section, Petterson-Griffith competed in the Powerlifting segment (Squat, Bench Press and Deadlift) in which Wilks Formula was used to tally scores.

Tracy Shamsudeen, another Committee Member, who also has legal oversight, stated they tried to work around the situation, given the athlete is the “face of the federation” due to stellar performances, but they have to remain balanced and fair in their adjudications as not to create future breaches of the constitution.

GAPLF’s Martin Webster makes a point that the event in Barbados catered for Powerlifting and Wilks were used to tally the scores

The federation, in a statement read by Public Relations Officer Runita White, stated, “As a Federation we recognise that we are nothing without our athletes; but in promoting our athletes who are international ambassadors for Guyana we press our athletes to display discipline, self-control and to adhere to regulatory measures of the IPF and GAPLF.”

“The Federation will continue to work with Mr. Petterson to ensure that there are no repetitions of the incident and is very much willing to accommodate the promotion of Mr. Petterson for the next World Championships.”

A section of the press on Tuesday (June 4) revealed that the athlete will still attend the World Championships.

However, a member of GAPLF clarified Petterson-Griffith is free to travel to any country, but his participation can only be granted by the GAPLF or in this case IPF, the said body whose constitution he violated.

Additionally, with regards to Junica Pluck, who also took the trip to Barbados, and faced the aforementioned sanction, the federation stated they “will be revisiting Junica’s sanction.”

It is understood that due to Pluck having not represented the country as yet, there is a case she can possibly face a lesser period of suspension.

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