Who is Annika?
Annika is a 2 times National Champion, current European Champion in classic bench-press, silver medalist at European Championships 2017 and placed 5th at the world championships 2017.
Full name: Annika Zelander
Club/country: Halmstad TSK, Sweden
Weight category: – 72kg in classic powerlifting
Occupation: Social worker
Personal bests: 187.5kg squat, 120kg bench-press, 205kg deadlift
2 times national champion, current European champion in classic bench-press, silver medalist at European championships 2017 and placed 5th at the world championships 2017.
1: Tell us a little bit about how and when you got in to powerlifting?
It all started with a knee injury and the doctor ordered me to get stronger and build some muscle. This wasn’t that long ago, somewhere between 2012 and 2013. I did my first powerlifting competition in November 2014 just because some guys were telling me I was strong. And I think I did the deadlift for the first time in my life in September 2014.
2: What is you background in sports?
I have basically been a “horse girl” my entire life. Horseback riding is a sport pretty much based on money, and I am not born and raised in a rich family, so I had to work harder than the others. Frankly I had to work first to eventually get up on a horse. But it gave me character, work ethics and one hell of an attitude.
3: Favorite movement to train?
I would say like Alexander Eriksson “I am a powerlifter by heart”. I would rather have the world record in the total than squat, bench or deadlift. It’s the total that gets my blood to rush faster than anything else in this world, (sorry bf). But when life is rough, the bench always treats me good in some kind of way.
4: How many days per week do you train and who is your coach at this moment?
I usually train 5 days per week. When it is close to competition and it is time to build up a peak I drop to 4 days a week. My coach is Oscar Björk and we’re actually a couple too. I guess you can say that gains are the way to my heart?
5: What is your view about all the strong girls that we see in the world right now and what do you think is the biggest reason we have seen this huge elevation in the number of female lifters out there?
I think it is finally a time in history when it is okay for women to take place, speak their minds, be whatever they want to be and to be strong and have muscles. I am so grateful to be a part of that, of this. I WANT TO SEE THIS GREATNESS DEVELOP TO SOMETHING EVEN BIGGER!
6: Did you have any lifter/lifters that you looked up to as inspiration when you started?
Marie Tunroth. It will always be her. She’s the humblest person I know. She’s always raising others up and is so down to earth. I’m truly sad that she got injured. I would love to compete by her side again.
7: What would be the first advice you would give to a young girl starting her lifting career?
Be smart, train wisely because it is on the platform we fight. And focus on you and what favors you. All the others can do whatever they want to do – learn the power of not caring what others think.
8: DB´s founding principles are; Pure Power, Specificity and Quality. How do you feel these represent you as an athlete?
Pure Power is something I would like to spread and stand by. To have a clean and drug free sport should be a no-brainer. I am honored to not only represent my country but also these principles. I will try to keep the flag high.
9: If we look 3 years ahead, where do you see yourself as a lifter?
I see myself having a world champion title. But I will also be a lifter with more experience and I will have even more wonderful friends across the world in this growing powerlifting community. But lifting is not just titles and records for me. There is something even bigger. My lifting career is something that forcing me to discover and explore new resources inside me, like an inner journey and a mental thing.
10: Finally, how do you feel about coming to the Middle East and meet the lifters here?
It will be amazing. I am looking forward to heavy lifting, good company, new friendships and the sun!