Powerlifters aim for glory at Asean Para Games
Debutants Kalai and Yeo set sights on powerlifting glory
They may have taken up the sport only about eight months ago, but that hasn't stopped powerlifters Kalai Vanen and Melvyn Yeo from targeting a medal at the Asean Para Games from Dec 3-9.
While the only two members in the Republic's powerlifting squad are both personal trainers who provide fitness training, the sport holds a different challenge for them.
"It's more of moving the weights efficiently, rather than just moving the weights to gain muscle," Kalai explained.
The 56-year-old leg amputee, who is competing in the 97kg category has a personal best of lifting 155kg.
Yeo, who has cerebral palsy, has lifted 110kg of weights in his 65kg category.
The duo led Team Singapore athletes and members of the public in taking on powerlifting challenges at the Unified Powerlifting Challenge at Marina Square yesterday.
Coach Muhammad Hidayat Osman believes Kalai and Yeo can better their records on home soil in December.
"Kalai and Melvyn have been gradually improving. They've been meeting their personal records almost every training session," he said.
But he also acknowledged that, while a medal is "not impossible", Kalai and Yeo are up against competitors who have about 10 years of experience in them.
The duo, however, are determined to make a mark in the powerlifting event held at Marina Bay Sands during the Games.
With the Games approaching, they have increased the intensity of their training regimen to four times a week.
"It's a very exciting opportunity to be able to stand at the international stage and showcase what talents Singapore have," Yeo, 31, said.
Kalai added that representing Singapore is not only an honour but also a responsibility because of the extensive promotion of the Games.
"I will give of my best to perform well in the Games. Hopefully, the home crowd support will give me an extra edge," he said.
The Unified Powerlifting Challenge yesterday was part of efforts to engage the community for the Asean Para Games.
Initiatives, including Gift-a-NILA and school outreach programmes, have helped reach out to over 200,000 people.
Baey Yam Keng, Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, hopes the continued engagement efforts would see an increase in awareness of the Games.
"It's free admission, so I hope the public can support Team Singapore, support the athletes from the region and support people with disabilities," Baey said.