POCKET DYNAMO: Leon Tai Nan Whye (front) made his debut as a powerlifter at the Singapore Powerlifting Alliance (SPA) 2019. PHOTO: JOVEN LUM JIAN HAO
Standing at 1.62m tall and just under 60kg in weight, Leon Tai Nan Whye looks like your average Joe but the 21-year-old powerlifter can lift three times his weight!
In August 2019, Leon had competed in the Singapore Powerlifting Alliance (SPA), a local meet, and won the the U60 weight class for the 20 to 23 age group.
The sports coaching student, who had only taken powerlifting seriously for over a year, initially hit the gym because he was in a dragon boat team.
“I just fell in love with strength training and I found that there is a sport that specialised in squat, bench and deadlift, which is powerlifting. The love of strength sport and love of progress got me to pick up powerlifting,” Leon said.
However, Leon’s powerlifting journey was not easy, especially during his internship attachment. He interned at a sports coaching company which required their coaches to travel to different locations within Singapore. This meant that he had very little time for training.
“I had difficulties getting proper recovery because I tend to end training late due to work and therefore lesser hours of sleep. Fatigue level was really high for me during my 20 weeks of attachment,” Leon recalled.
“I had to train after long hours of coaching which can affect my performance during training and also post-training. My body would have muscle soreness and aches which affect my work and training,” he added.
Nevertheless, Leon tried to overcome his challenges by making the best of his time. He said: “Everyone has 24 hours and it is up to an individual to make full use of it. For example, to get enough rest, I would sleep in the train or bus when en-route to my coaching venues or school.”
This meant that assignments are completed before he starts training.
“(Being a) student comes first so I will do my reflection journals first so that after training, I can rest without thinking that I have undone schoolwork,” Leon said.
Leon will be competing in the upcoming Singapore Powerlifting Open 2020 in late July. The event will determine whether he can qualify for the APF Asian Classic Powerlifting Championships in Japan in December, 2020.
Leon hopes that he can inspire others to try powerlifting.
“I would love to see this community grow as the years pass,” he said.
Milene Lum is a student from Republic Polytechnic's Diploma in Mass Communication. She produced this article as part of a collaboration with www.MyActiveSG.com
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