Powerlifting: Matthew Yap, 18, garners two world marks in becoming Asian champion

After just making weight, Matthew Yap goes from strength to strength to grab Asian title

Singapore teenager Matthew Yap, 18, broke two world records in the men's Under-66kg sub-junior division (14- to 18-year-olds) at the ongoing Asian Classic Powerlifting Championships in India. PHOTO: COURTESY OF MATHEW YAP
18-year-old Matthew Yap at the world championships in Belarus in June. His 588kg total in India comprises three segments as he notched another world mark in the squat by lifting 215.5kg. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - He was literally sweating to make weight.

And when he did, Singapore teenager Matthew Yap broke two world records in the men's Under-66kg sub-junior division (14-to 18-year-olds) at the Asian Classic Powerlifting Championships that are currently ongoing in Alappuzha in Kerala state in India.

On Tuesday (Dec 5), the 18-year-old also became the new Asian champion as he smashed Swede Eddie Berglund's four-year-old world record of 585kg by 3kg.

Yap's 588kg total comprises three segments as he notched another world mark in the squat when he overtook his previous record of 208kg, set in June, by first lifting 208.5kg, and then 215.5kg.

He bench pressed a national record of 135kg and set an Asian record in the dead lift with 237.5kg, surpassing Kazakh Dmitriy Chebanov's previous Asian best of 230kg.

The Republic Polytechnic student told The Straits Times: "This victory was definitely a sweet one, but that came with struggles right up to the hour before weigh-ins, too. I sat in the sauna, close to blacking out, in my final-ditch attempt to make weight at 66kg. I did make it.

"Things began looking better after my first squat attempt (190kg), when my coach and brother Marcus told me to make a massive 18.5kg jump to rewrite my old world record of 208kg, with a 208.5kg squat.

"I succeeded, and then we made a more conservative jump to 215.5kg, which felt really good and boosted my confidence.

"Finally, I felt really satisfied. At the IPF World Championships 2017 (in June in Minsk, Belarus), I was defeated by Dmitriy who had a massive lead over my total.

"Yesterday, I took his Asian record in the dead lift, and obtained three world records too, including that for the total in my category."

Tan Say Yong, founder and vice- president of Powerlifting Singapore, was proud of his young charge's recent meteoric rise, but was cautious when asked if Tay could translate his form to the open category.

He said: "Matthew's success comes as no surprise for those who have seen his commitment and dedication.

"He certainly has the potential to keep improving for years to come and be the Asian champion in the junior division (19- to 23-year-olds)... However, like many others, Matthew will have to navigate other demands in his life - studies, national service, and then transition to working life.

"How that goes depends on him, and those of us around him must do our bit to support his dreams of flying the flag high on the platform."

Meanwhile, Marcus became the U-59kg junior Asian champion with a total of 522.5kg.

And Joel Chan took the title of U-66kg junior Asian champion by lifting a combined 527.5kg.

Singapore's contingent of 15 athletes have amassed nine golds and three silvers so far these championships, which close on Saturday (Dec 9).

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.