Weightlifting: Weightlifter Wong breaks two records despite hiatus

National weightlifter Scott Wong at a training session in 2013.
National weightlifter Scott Wong at a training session in 2013. PHOTO: SCOTT WONG

Even though weightlifting had taken a backseat as studies became a priority, national weightlifter Scott Wong did not doubt his ability.

At Sunday's British University and College Championships, the Singaporean won three golds and rewrote two national records.

Wong lifted 163kg for his clean and jerk in the 105kg category at London's St Mary's University, smashing his old record of 155kg while his combined total of 290kg also improved on his national mark by 2kg set last August at the Victoria Weightlifting Association Open.

Taking a six-month break to focus on his final exams in January, the University of Manchester final-year medicine student only started full training in early February.

The 25-year-old said: "I more or less saw it coming that I would be able to better what I did last year. Setting numbers with my coach and lifting the required weights, I knew exactly what I could hit and just did it.

"I don't see my records as a big deal as Singapore weightlifting needs more progress. If you compare it to world records and look at the overall competitive field, I have still a long way to go."

Wong, who graduates in July, trains with Australia-based coach Yurik Sarkisyan virtually. The last time the pair met was in August last year.

Instead, Sarkisyan checks Wong's progress over video calls on a daily basis.

Wong said: "Yurik does his best to always know what I do, how I train and even what I eat. Even though he's very detailed with advice in the video calls, I feel like I'm only at 60 per cent.

"I'm meeting him next June in Melbourne to train for a month, and I'm confident of getting that missing 40 per cent in my performance."

With his sights firmly locked on a medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the former national discus thrower currently has no plans to compete in any event this year. Instead, he is focusing on his hospital attachment when he returns to Singapore in July.

Wong has taken an interest in computer programming in university, developing a smartphone application that helps fellow weightlifters to seek coaching advice.

"The app is mainly to allow anyone to have access to top-level coaches at their convenience. From this, the weightlifters can still keep up with their training even without meeting the coach."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2016, with the headline 'Weightlifter Wong breaks two records despite hiatus'. Print Edition | Subscribe