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 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 towards 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 little time for training.
“I had difficulties getting proper recovery because I tend to end training late due to work 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.”
Nevertheless, Leon tried to overcome his challenges by making the best out 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 on route to my coaching venues or school.”
This meant that assignments are completed before he starts training. “(Being a) student come 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 Singapore Powerlifting Open 2020 in late July. The event determines whether he could qualify for the APF Asian Classic Powerlifting Championships in Japan in December, 2020.
Leon hopes he can inspire others to try powerlifting. “I would love to see this community grow as the years pass,” he said.