APG 2017: Kalai cheered by personal performance and powerlifting "family"
21 September 2017
Team Singapore's Kalai Vanen finished fourth in the men's 107 kg final on Thursday but said he enjoyed the spirit of the competition and was pleased with his personal showing.
The event was won by Thailand's Prakit Tongsang, while Malaysia's Wan Nur Amri finished with silver and compatriot Mohd Faiz Hussain finished with the bronze.
Team Singapore powerlifter Kalai Vanen achieved his personal best but felt decisions from officials did not favour him. Photo: Sport Singapore
While Kalai was ruled to have made three unsuccessful lifts, he was happy with his final lift of 156kg, which is a personal best.
"It was a fantastic experience, I managed to do my personal best and even at that level I felt that I could press more," said Kalai. "Unfortunately, the referee didn't give me the count, we were bit upset about the decision and but a decision is still a decision."
Having won a bronze on home soil two years ago in the 97kg category, Kalai said the 9th Asean Para Games in Kuala Lumpur was different.
Kalai Vanen won a bronze medal on home soil at the 2015 ASEAN Para Games. Photo: Sport Singapore
"The competition in Singapore was very new to me so I was actually a novice, inexperienced, I pushed whatever I could push with brute strength," he noted.
"Here I felt like my performance was really good, trained really hard, like I said the decision was not given to me. But that's the nature of competition."
Apart from competing, the 58-year-old also said he relished the relationships which the powerlifters share.
Relationships shared within the powerlifting family is something Kalai Vanen cherishes. Photo: Sport Singapore
"The people we meet in powerlifting are a family, wherever we compete," said Kalai.
"I don't know about the other sports but we are all very friendly," he added. "We want to see the other guy do very well because there's a certain amount of beauty in the way the bar is pressed up."