Powerlifting: Singaporean Farhanna Farid sets Open U-52kg deadlift world record

Farhanna Farid lifted 200.5kg at the World Open Classic Powerlifting Championships in South Africa. PHOTO: IPF/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Relief flooded through Farhanna Farid as her final lift was cleared on Monday (June 6) at the World Open Classic Powerlifting Championships 2022 in Sun City, South Africa.

The national powerlifter had no idea how much she had lifted and if it was good enough for gold. And her relief turned into joy minutes later after she learnt that her 200.5kg effort had earned her the Under-52kg dead lift title. 

It also eclipsed her previous world record of 197kg achieved in her second lift. 

French duo Noemie Allabert (192.5kg) and Shizuka Rico (185kg) – who held the previous mark of 196.5kg before the meet – finished second and third respectively.

Farhanna later explained that not knowing the weight of her lifts prevents her from overthinking so she lets her coach or handler decide the weight. 

The method worked wonders for Farhanna on Monday, as she became the first Singaporean to win an Open category and set a world record at the world championships. 

The two-time Asian champion was proud to put Singapore on the world map. Their contingent in South Africa included teammate Clinton Lee and coaches Ng Jun Jie and James Barcelo. 

The 29-year-old pharmacist said: “It still feels so surreal. At competitions, you see big teams from the United States, France and Italy. When the four (of us) from Singapore walk in, no one really bats an eyelid. 

“I never feel my achievement is my own. It’s shared and the purpose of me doing it is to put Singapore on the world map and share that we do have strong and capable people.” 

Powerlifting has three components – the squat, the bench press and the dead lift. The movements are different from weightlifting’s snatch or clean and jerk components.

Allabert won the overall title with her 438kg effort (the sum of each athlete’s squat, bench press and deadlift results), followed by Pleun Dekkers of the Netherlands (423.5kg) and Canadian Stef Kean (422.5kg). Farhanna was seventh out of 13 overall, ninth in the squat and 12th in the bench press.

Her achievement at the world championships also proved to be a winning start to her partnership with her new French coach Panagiotis Tarinidis, whom she met for the first time in South Africa. 

She started working with the Paris-based Tarinidis, who is also competing at the June 6-11 championships, at the beginning of the year and credited his programme for helping her improve. 

The pair had been communicating via calls or text messages. 

Farhanna, who started competing in 2018, described their meet-up as “finally meeting a pen-pal after so long”.

She added: “The switch has been refreshing because Pana’s programming has made me learn new things about myself and I feel I can go above and beyond. 

“He’s constantly competing so he has very real-time advice which is very helpful.”

Farhanna Farid atop the winner's podium after her dead lift exploits at the world championships. PHOTO: COURTESY OF FARHANNA FARID

Farhanna, who trains four times a week, will next compete at either the South-east Asian Cup in Kuala Lumpur in September or the Asian Championships in Dubai in December. 

After breaking the world mark, Farhanna does not plan to stop here and hopes to inspire more Singaporeans to take up the sport. 

She said: “I hope this shows we’re capable of big things and I hope people get inspired to venture out of their comfort zone and discover what they’re capable of.”

Powerlifting Singapore president Tan Say Yong said: “We hope that (Farhanna’s) achievement serves as a beacon to show other Singaporeans what is possible and as a rallying point for new growth in our community.”

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