Ching, 80, ready to become oldest bodybuilding competitor
Ching, 80, set to break record this weekend as oldest competitor at nationals
He set a record in 2002 when he became the oldest bodybuilder, at 66, to compete in the Singapore national bodybuilding championships.
That time, the aim was to qualify for the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, South Korea, where bodybuilding was making its debut.
Now, aged 80, Ching Teng Soon is still not done with the sport.
The former national bodybuilder, who won multiple awards locally and abroad in his 20s, is bracing himself for one more set of poses tomorrow, when he competes in the Bodybuilding Singapore Nationals Weekend 2015.
The two-day Bodybuilding Singapore-organised event will see 220 competitors across both fitness modelling (today) and bodybuilding (tomorrow) categories - up from 95 last year.
Ching, who has three children in their 40s and four grandchildren, feels he has one last competition in him.
In preparation, he has been exercising six times a week for the last nine months.
"I want to show that bodybuilding is for everybody, no matter how old," he told The New Paper, when asked what motivated him to sign up.
"I have been torturing myself for the past nine months, but my passion for this sport has never died. It's in my blood."
Ching was introduced to bodybuilding at 14, when his elder brother brought home a 150-pound barbell set.
He retired from the sport when he was 35, as married life and work demanded more of his time.
But he never stopped going to the gym or the swimming pool a few times a week.
"I chose the right sport. A lot of people tell me they have no time to train and exercise regularly, but I tell them that's silly," said the grandfather, who stands at 1.73m and weighs 88kg.
"Your body is very important; you must spend a bit of time on it.
"Your legs, for example, are like your pillars. Keep them strong and, when you're old, you won't have to sit on the wheelchair.
"That's another motivation for me to stay fit and independent. I don't want to trouble my family."
Ching's impressive build is evident even under a T-shirt and, while he's not as toned as five decades ago, his muscles bulge from his chest and arms upon request.
"There is no real secret to keeping in shape. Peace of mind helps, so you can train properly. And, of course, eating good food," Ching said.
"I haven't suffered an injury in a long time. Medical-wise, I have no worries. But even then, I have a pioneer card, so seeing the doctor is free."
Despite finishing last in his category in 2002, Ching was given a special award for competing.
Bodybuilding Singapore president Kevin Chiak plans to do the same tomorrow - in the form of a Lifetime Achievement Award - regardless of how Ching finishes in the Masters and Open categories.
"Uncle Ching is definitely a role model for everyone. His passion and determination are so admirable," said Chiak, who has been helping Ching in training.
"He is setting a record in Singapore; one that will take some time to be eclipsed."
- What: Bodybuilding Singapore Nationals Weekend 2015 (for both fitness modelling and bodybuilding)
- Where: University Cultural Centre at the National University of Singapore
When: Today and Tomorrow, from 1pm
I want to show that bodybuilding is for everybody, no matter how old... I have been torturing myself for the past nine months, but my passion for this sport has never died.
— Former national bodybuilder Ching Teng Soon