POWERLIFTING is stilll not considered an official sport in the country.
The Philippine Olympic Committee, (POC), now headed by President Cong. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, listed the Powerlifting Association of the Philippines as an associate member.
The Olympics, the Asian Games and even the Southeast Asian Games still do not include powerlifting in their program.
But PAP president Eddie Torres believes it is only a matter of time before powerlifting gets the attention — and long-overdue recognition — that it richly deserves.
“Like weightlifting where Hidilyn Diaz won the country’s first Olympic gold medal, powerlifting is another sport where Filipinos can excel,” said Torres during the 124th “Usapang Sports on Air” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom last Oct. 14.
“With the success of our powerlifters in the world champioships in Sweden last month, we know we’re moving in the right direction. We’re getting there,” added Torres in the weekly public service program sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
Torres said Joyce Gail Reboton (open category) and junior champions Veronica Ompod (19-23 years old), Jane Erasmo (14-18 years old) and Agustin Lorenzo (18-23) are the biggest names in powerlifting now.
All four Filipinos did the country proud by bringing home four golds, two silvers, and five bronze medals in the World Classic Powerlifting Championships held in Halmstad, Sweden last Sept. 23-Oct. 3.
Reboton, now the “Poster Girl” of Philippine powerlifting, captured a silver in the bench press and a bronze in the total to become the only the second Filipino to win a medal in the World Open.
Reboton, the 29-year-old campaigner from Mabalacat, Pampanga, is also the second Filipino to win a medal in any World Open total after powerlifting legend Lily Pecante won the historic bronze in the Open total at the 2009 World Open Powerlifting Championships.
Ompod, the pride and joy of Matag-ob, Leyte, led the medal haul of the national team in the age group events.
Ompod bagged four gold medals in the 43kg women’s junior division.
Erasmo, also from Leyte, won four bronzes in the 47kg sub-junior class of the event, while Lorenzo benched 147.5 kg on his third attempt to secure a silver medal in the men’s 74kg sub-junior division.
Lorenzo, a first-timer in international competitions, took home a silver medal and even broke the Asian record.
“With these athletes, the future is bright for powerlifting,” said Torres.
Torres admitted both Ompod and Erasmo brought home medals despite encountering difficulties.
“Yung dalawa, medyo nahirapan talaga sa biyahe. They arrived just a night before of early morning weigh-in. Bumiyahe sila ng halos 24 oras, natulog ng about four hours bago yun weigh- in. It was very challenging for them.
“Mahirap yun pag-control ng body weight. Kung kulang ang pagbaba mo ng timbang, madi-disqualify ka at di makapasok sa weight class.
Pag sobra naman ng malaki ang bawas ng timbang, manghihina ka naman. Despite that, naging maganda naman ang perfomance nilang lahat.”
Asked about the possibility that powerlifting will be finally included in the SEA Games program, Torres admitted the first challenge is to get more countries involved.
“We’re not a regular SEA Games sport yet. The spotlight is not on us. Kahit ang daming countries sa mundo, dito sa Southeast Asia, dalawa pa lang na bansa like 10 years ago. But we’re growing. When we became world champion, may apat na countries na, although the minimum for SEAG is five. But now, we already have six countries beginning 2020,” said Torres.
“Nandyan na din ang Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam bukod sa Philippines. Yun Brunei, papasok na din.
“But it might be too late to get into the next SEA Games (in Vietnam on May). But hopefully, the one after that nasa SEA Games na tayo.”
He claimed the entry of powerlifting in the SEA Games could be a game-changer in promoting the sport.
“Mas dadami ang mga athletes na susubok sa powerlifting kapag kasali na sa SEA Games, mas madami tayong makikita na magaling. Yun mga sponsors,papasok. Yun funding problem natin sa training at international exposure, maaayos.”
Torres said the success of Diaz in weightlifting in the Tokyo Olympics also helps a lot.
“After Hidilyn’s success, mas madami ngayong gusto sumubok sa mga barbel sports, like weightlifting at powerlifting. May ibang powerlifters ngayon na kasama din sa ibang martial arts sports, like wrestling at taekwondo. Nagkaroon talaga ng awareness. Pag nag SEA Games, mas lalong dadami magka-interes.”
Torres said powerlifting and weightlifting have similarities and differences.
“The movements are actually different. We can see sa Olympics ang weightlifting, puro overhead lifts. Ang powerlifting, hindi din siya overhead lifts,” explained Torres.
“Sa weightlifting, merong snatch na from the ground straight sa itaas. Meron din siyang clean and jerk na dalawang movements, una yung clean from the floor to the clavicle area, at yung jerk from the clavicle area to overhead.”
“Ang powerlifting ay set of three ang events. Ang pinaka kilalang events ay ang bench press, na kung saan nakahiga ka sa bench at arms extended upwards, moving the bar, ibababa sa dibdib and then itataas.”
“Yung squat, yung bar nilalagay sa likod or the rear shoulders, and then you will squat down to a decal depth tapos itatayo mo. Actually, ang squat, is exercise din para sa mga weightlifters. You have to get your legs very strong, your core very strong, ginagawa ng weightlifters yan.”
“And then the last event, yung deadlift, yung itsura niya parang snatch ang starting position, hawak yung bar pero instead of bringing the bar overhead, tatayo ka lang with the bar, para siyang partial snatch, itatayo mo lang but since hindi siya overhead, yung mga binubuhat dito are a lot heavier than binubuhat ng mga weightlifters kasi hindi naman siya overhead. Number of events, magkaiba. Yung training, merong similarities pero meron din mga pagkakaiba. Ang technique sa weightlifting is a lot higher than powerlifting. Highly technical at kailangang malakas ka rin. Sa powerlifting, less technical and more brute force or power.”
Torres is encouraging everyone to try powerlifting, too.
“Just get into any sport. Get into powerlifting, get into it to be in better shape and be more healthy ,” added Torres. With reports from Gab Ferreras