November 29, 2016
This December, a team of fifteen athletes representing Powerlifting (Singapore) will join over 500 others from across the Asia and Oceania regions in Christchurch, New Zealand. These athletes will compete in the annual regional powerlifting meet, the Asia/Oceania Powerlifting Championships (AO), in a show of strength that will take place over the entire week of 5 to 10 December 2016.
Powerlifting (Singapore) initially began in 2011 as a small group of enthusiasts, led by LTC Tan Say Yong, whose keen interest in the sport then led him to establish our national governing body for powerlifting, with affiliation to the International Powerlifting Federation as well as the Asian Powerlifting Federation. The first powerlifting meet in Singapore was held in 2011, and saw only 13 participants. Today, the annual Singapore Powerlifting Open sees a steady growth of participants each year, with its current active member base close to 400.
Local powerlifting meets in Singapore today typically see participation from both male and female athletes ranging from ages fourteen and up competing in various weight and age categories, with new elite athletes emerging each year to attempt to break national and regional records.
Powerlifting (Singapore) athlete Gabriel Tan, aged 21, says that powerlifting is ultimately still an individual sport, and that the focus on improving oneself is important. “You have to continually better your numbers over time,” says the 21 year old accounting student at the Singapore Management University, who cites his personal improvement over time as his the biggest motivation.
His sentiments are echoed by fellow team member Saudi Tan, who says, “It isn’t as if you can go into a competition and suddenly lift 50kgs more than you have been training! It is really a constant progression, constant mastery of the sport.”
With constant dedication, discipline, and hard work keys to these athletes’ progress and success, Melbourne-based Singaporean athlete Christophe Ang, 21, says that powerlifting meets are a way to showcase what athletes have worked hard for during their training. The University of Melbourne undergraduate, who competes in the Men’s Under 74kg (Junior) weight class, says that there is no one set of formula or identity that makes one a good athlete or enables one to enjoy the sport.
Meanwhile Saudi Tan, a fitness entrepreneur, says that the biggest misconception about the sport is that it is Olympic Weightlifting, another barbell sport which consists of the clean and jerk, and the snatch. Many also think that powerlifting is a sport meant only for men. Yet, Powerlifting (Singapore) today sees rapid growth in the number of females participating in its competitions, as well as females training in the sport as enthusiasts.
Daphne Loo, who competes in the Women’s Under 57 weight class, says that she has faced her fair share of detractors when it came to powerlifting, with some believing that she is not strong enough to be competitive in such a sport. Despite that, Daphne, now a personal trainer, has competed in four local meets, and has also helped set up the largest female powerlifting team in the country, comprising eight other women.
Other obstacles faced by powerlifting athletes in Singapore also include financial woes. These athletes are self-funded and are paying their own way to New Zealand, in hopes of being able to fly the Singapore flag on the podium.
Marcus Yap, the Men’s Under 59kg Junior Asian Champion at the Asia/Oceania Powerlifting Championships in 2014 is no stranger to this issue. With a laugh, he says, “Someone once asked me, ‘Every time you go (overseas) for a competition, you come back a poor man. Why do you still do it?’” To the 22 year old National Serviceman, despite the lack of financial support as an athlete, it is important to be on the international platform to compete with the best in the world, as this puts him under very stressful conditions, which allows for development and growth as an athlete.
Ang, who is also no stranger to competing internationally, says, “What you gain from these competitions are also friendships, connections, and social networking.” He has participated in the 2016 IPF World Opens Championships in Texas, USA, and the Asia/Oceania Championships in 2015 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where he won the gold in the Men’s Under 74kg Junior category. He says that this provides him with learning opportunities with international athletes, and not just those from the local pool.
President of Powerlifting (Singapore), Zulhairy Zolkaffeli, says that this year’s edition of Asia/Oceania will see the biggest team of athletes that the federation has ever sent to any overseas competition. He says, “It is a good sign that athletes are willing to put in the effort and the money, as all the athletes are self-funded.” It shows growth and interest in powerlifting as a sport, beyond everything, says Zulhairy.
Spectators from Singapore who are interested to watch the competition Live can stream it online at http://goodlift.info/live.php.
Team Powerlifting (Singapore) athletes for the Asia/Oceania Powerlifting Championships 2016
Lee Layteng | U52 Women’s Open | Tue 6 Dec 0630 hrs (SGT)
Aleen Tan | U57 Women’s Junior | Tue 6 Dec 1100 hrs (SGT)
Daphne Loo | U57 Women’s Open | Tue 6 Dec 1100 hrs (SGT)
Tan Sze Yin (Saudi) | U72 Women’s Open | Wed 7 Dec 0800 hrs (SGT)
Matthew Yap | U66 Men’s Sub Junior | Thu 8 Dec 0400 hrs (SGT)
Gary Lim | U74 Men’s Sub Junior | Thu 8 Dec 0830 hrs (SGT)
Christophe Ang | U74 Men’s Junior | Thu 8 Dec 0830 hrs (SGT)
Gabriel Tan | U74 Men’s Junior | Thu 8 Dec 0830 hrs (SGT)
Koh Kai Wei | U83 Men’s Sub Junior | Thu 8 Dec 1230 hrs (SGT)
Clinton Lee | U83 Men’s Junior | Thu 8 Dec 1230 hrs (SGT)
Koo Wei Feng (Billy) | U93 Men’s Sub Junior | Fri 9 Dec 0400 hrs (SGT)
Laval Tan | U105 Men’s Sub Junior | Fri 9 Dec 0700 hrs (SGT)
Han Xingjian | U105 Men’s Junior | Fri 9 Dec 0700 hrs (SGT)
Marcus Yap | U59 Men’s Open | Fri 9 Dec 1300 hrs (SGT)
Yeoh Han Pin (Kelvin) | U74 Men’s Open | Sat 10 Dec 0400 hrs (SGT)
About Powerlifting (Singapore) (www.powerliftingsg.com)
Powerlifting (Singapore) is the national governing body for powerlifting, and is an affiliate nation member with the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) and the Asian Powerlifting Federation (APF). Established in 2011 as an interest group, it was officially recognized as a sports association in 2014, and has since adopted the Anti-Doping Singapore (ADS) drug control policy and regulation, to take the sport even further in always ensuring a fair playing field for all.
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