Sat, 08 Dec 2018, (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) – The Asian Classic Powerlifting Championship 2018 season comes to a close for the seventeen-strong Singapore team with a final medal tally of 41 gold, 10 silver and 5 bronze medals. This year’s team which comprises five females and twelve males also bagged 6 Asian records. Powerlifting is a strength sport in which athletes lift the heaviest weight, in the squat, bench press, and deadlift.
The Asian Classic is an annual championship organized by the Asian Powerlifting Federation – APF, affiliated to the International Powerlifting Federation – IPF. In Singapore, the national governing body for the sport of powerlifting is Powerlifting Singapore, an organization which provides the platform for athletes to compete locally in Singapore through sanctioned national competitions, which in turn allows them to qualify for regional or international competitions.
This year’s Asian Classic Championship was attended by 18 nations, and 253 athletes despite being held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, a country which experiences extreme winter climes and temperatures dip to -30 degrees Celsius and below in December. The Singapore team’s Asian Classic highlights include the stellar performance of female athletes Thor Qian Qi, 19, and Farhanna Farid, 26, both newly-minted Asian Record holders. Thor won 4 gold medals and pulled a 145.5kg deadlift for an Asian Record in the Women’s Under-52kg Junior category. She also achieved a squat of 130kg and a bench press of 65kg, beating the Junior and Open National Records in Singapore.
Fellow team mate Farhanna finished her competition on a strong note, with 3 Asian Records in the deadlift, at 160.5kg, 170.5kg and 173kg in the Women’s Under-52kg Open category.
Says Thor, who has taken an almost one-year break from competing since her international debut at the Asian Classic in December 2017, “I had not intended on competing this year, and was training towards the next national-level championships in Singapore in March 2019.
However, when the opportunity came up through my nomination to be part of the Singapore team, I seized it! We were 8 weeks out from competition, and my coach ramped up my training, to help me peak.” Citing school work as a reason for allowing competition to take a back seat, Thor, a Nanyang Polytechnic student says that she started training seriously again only in July this year. She trains five times a week, each time for 3 hours.
Fellow team mate Farhanna, on the other hand, has been actively competing this year. She made her debut into the powerlifting scene in Singapore during the Singapore Powerlifting Open 2018 held in April this year, where she surprised the crowd with an easy 160.5kg deadlift, becoming the first woman in Singapore to deadlift over three times her own bodyweight. Farhanna says, “This year’s Asian Classic was the ultimate goal for me.
The plan was to come here, get the gold medals, and the Asian Record.” However, not all was smooth-sailing for this pint-sized woman. She came into the regionals with a back injury, and had not deadlifted in over three weeks prior to competition day. She finally triumphed and exceeded the existing Asian Record by a massive 13kgs.
Speaking of her final deadlift attempt, in which she lifted 173kg, she laughs, “The bar did not move for 3 whole seconds! I think I gave everyone on the Singapore team a near-heart attack. Everyone’s heart sank and thought I would not get it. But I wasn’t letting go of the bar. I wanted it so much I kept pulling, and finally it flew upwards!” Juggling her full-time job as a pharmacist, Farhanna also trains four times a week, with each training session lasting up to 3 hours.
Her hard work paid off when Farhanna became the first Singaporean ever to win an overall gold medal internationally in the Open age division, across all weight classes, in addition to her Asian Records.
Fellow team mate Venus Tang, 25, achieved 1 gold and 3 silver medals in the Women’s Under-57kg Open category, while Master 1 athletes Carrie Choy (Under-63kg) and Hiromi Takeuchi (Under-47kg) each won 4 gold medals.
Choy, 41, a former Team Singapore national judo player from 1992 to 1997, was glad to be able to represent Singapore and fly the Singapore flag once more. She says, “I never imagined I would be standing on the podium again wearing the Singapore flag, especially with an old shoulder injury. It was a good experience, and I am glad to be able to win the 4 gold medals for Singapore.”
With the Singapore Women’s Team standing strong in the region, the Singapore Men’s Team too, held their ground against other highly-competitive Asian athletes.
Norfatris Danial Norazlan, 22, finished his competition with a 281kg deadlift followed by a 293kg deadlift, earning him the gold medal and two Asian Records in the Men’s Under-83kg Junior category, in addition to a silver medal for the squat and overall gold medal. Matthew Yap, 19, achieved a 248kg squat, winning the gold medal and Asian Record in the Men’s Under-74kg Junior category, and also a bronze in the bench press, a silver in the deadlift, and the overall gold medal.
The Singapore team has been making their mark on the regional and international platform, with steadily increasing medals year on year. Earlier this year in June, powerlifting athlete Clinton Lee, 25, achieved an overall silver medal in the highly competitive Under-74kg Open category, the first for Singapore at any IPF World Classic Championship.
Lee also won a silver medal in the bench press. At the same championships held in Calgary, Canada, fellow teammate Alexander Ang Wei Rui, 18, also bagged a World Record in the deadlift.