Singaporean raising funds to be first local strongman in international competition
Youth worker raising money to be first S'porean in international strength contest
The heaviest thing he has ever lifted was a 380kg axle.
Yesterday, strongman Ahmad Taufiq Muhammad, 34, came close to breaking his personal record when he lifted a van with five crew members of ONE FM's #1 Breakfast Show.
He started out comfortably - lifting up the van each time one member got into the van.
After the fourth lift, he had to kneel on the ground and catch his breath as the final member, DJ Glenn Ong, climbed into the van.
With his muscles strained, Mr Taufiq clenched his teeth and lifted the van one last time to cheers from the crew.
Estimating that he had lifted about 370kg, he said afterwards: "The weight increase was ridiculous."
The freelance youth workerhopes to raise money to take part in the Arnold Classic Africa, an annual global strength competition.
He was invited to this year's event, which will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, on May 27.
Mr Taufiq, who weighs 145kg and is 1.77m tall, told The New Paper: "One of my friends suggested crowdfunding since it's costly to travel to South Africa. I'm targeting to raise US$3,500 (S$4,800), which covers my airfare and lodging."
From his own pocket, he will be spending about $5,000 more on a nutritionist, sports supplements, customised equipment and a protein-rich diet for 14 weeks.
"I spend a lot on food, as I have eight to 10 meals a day," said Mr Taufiq, who prepares his own meals.
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He took part in his first strength competition, Singapore Strongest Man, which was organised by HomeTeamNS, in 2005 and won.
He then progressed to regional and international events such as the Orang Kuat Sabah (Strongman Sabah) and World Natural Strongman Federation 3rd Laszlo Classic 2012 in Hungary.
When asked about the weights he will be carrying in the Amateur Strongman category, he quoted a saying in the strongman circle: "A strongman never asks the weight of the implements. A strongman just picks it up and does his best."
And don't think he's all brawn. This muscleman has brains, and heart too.
The psychology graduate from the University of Wyoming in the US is taking a break from pursuing his PhD in family ecology at Universiti Putra Malaysia to start a boys' shelter and concentrate on the competition.
He hopes people will fund him in his endeavour as he is the first Singaporean to take part.
"It's an experience. The Arnold's is much bigger than the Olympics in the strength community. Strength sports don't receive as much recognition as compared to swimming and table tennis in Singapore.
"Everyone deserves a chance and people should have a little faith in me. I'll put in a really good fight like I always do in competitions and aim to finish within the Top 10." he said.
DJ Andre Hoeden, co-host on the ONE FM's #1 Breakfast Show, said: "I'm proud to see him taking on the strongman series to represent Singapore. I support him."
Mr Taufiq has raised US$1,515 so far. See www.makeachamp.com/taufiqstrongman for more information.