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Coach Tiffany’s exciting win at the Hong Kong 2023 Asian Powerlifting Championships

Recently Team Peak had an outing to Hong Kong to take part in the 2023 Asia / Pacific / Africa Powerlifting and Bench Press Championships held from June 24 to June 30, 2023. Led by Head Coach Dylan, Coach Tiffany and Athlete Isaac flew to Hong Kong on June 22, 2023 for the competition.

Team Peak had a fulfilling trip, with Coach Tiffany bagging a gold medal for total weight lifted, silver for both squat and bench press, and bronze for deadlifts. She also attained her Category 2 referee licence during this meet too.

Below is a recap written by Head Coach Dylan to cover the spectacular physical and mental battle between Coach Tiffany and her rivals:

Meet Preparation

After a long hiatus from 2018, Coach Tiffany started participating again in 2022 and reignited her fire to compete. Making various habitual adjustments to enhance her training and recovery, she started to see her lifts returning back close to where she left off.

Pre-meet Strategy

Based on all the top working sets in Tiffany’s peaking month, we calculated the average predicted 1 repetition max with standard deviation. With this data, we projected a range of numbers to be used on the meet day.

From the nominations, Tiffany was nominated second with a whooping 20kg behind Ms Spensley from Hong Kong. Following Tiffy's nominated numbers closely was Ms Honda from Japan whose total was just 1kg behind.

We also noticed Kazakh athlete, Ms Kryukova, a seasoned athlete with 20 years of competing experience, with suspiciously low nominated numbers. With a quick check on the IPF records, we noticed that she has been competing mostly in Bench-only meets in the last 8 years, but has also accumulated some very impressive totals in full meets prior to that. In terms of abilities and experience, Ms Kryukova was very likely the top of the pack.

In theory, Tiffany would likely be placed third or fourth depending on body weight differences with Ms Honda. In order to maximize our chance for the podium, we went in slightly lighter with a slight cut (Creatine, Salt, Carbs, Fibre) over the few days leading up to weigh-in to gain a weight advantage. However, Ms Honda ended up weighing in at 0.34kg lighter, earning herself a weight advantage. Our efforts did not go to waste, wait till the end of this story!

Meet Day Strategy

With squats, we first bumped up our 1st attempt in order to lift after Ms Honda. This allowed us to view her 2nd attempt weight before deciding on ours: we dropped just 2.5kg under and followed closely till the third. The last competitor to lift the 2nd attempt was Ms Kryukova but she missed it due to missing the squat depth.

The competition unexpectedly swung in our favor. Ms Kryukova had to retake the same weight on her 3rd attempt. Interestingly, as we were now pushing the upper limits of Tiffany's ability by following closely with just 2.5kg behind Honda, it was also 2.5kg above Ms Spensley and Ms Kryukova’s third attempt. Tiffany went out to the platform on her third attempt, got the job done and won silver for squats.

Bench press is when Tiffany usually shines on the national stage. Apart from Ms Kryukova, who we know is a bench specialist, the rest of the competitors were quite far behind Tiffany in this lift. We would be playing on our own terms to break her own national bench press record of 88.5kg, and to stretch our lead. However, according to international rules, we would have to take a full 2.5kg jump instead of chipping her national record by a little. Tiffany secured her third bench press with a silver medal and updated Singapore’s national record with a 90kg bench press. The next two closest competitors both made blunders and only secured two bench attempts each.

We started the last lift of the day 15kg behind Ms Kryukova’s total. Ms Honda and Ms Spencer were 17.5kg and 27.5kg behind respectively. We knew Ms Spencer had the biggest deadlift in the lot and needed to keep a look out for her especially for her 2nd attempt. After locking in our 1st attempt, Ms Kryukova led the field with Tiffany just 2.5kg under. Ms Spencer narrowed the difference from 27.5kg to just 10kg.

For the 2nd attempt, we stuck to the plan with a 10kg jump from the 1st attempt and followed closely behind Ms Kryukova with 2.5kg in deficit. Our eyes were on Ms Honda and Ms Spencer on how well they did on their 2nd attempts as this would prove crucial in how we chose our last lift.

Ms Honda’s first deadlift was penalized with a blue light (downward movement or hitching) and a red light (lack of lockout) for her grindy 2nd attempt. Ms Spencer, dialed in her 2nd attempt which was just 5kg above her opener with a slight grind. These attempts suggested that it was highly unlikely for these two opponents to make big enough jumps to close the gap. The ball was in our court now!

After Ms Kryukova completed her 3rd deadlift, I bumped Tiffany’s third up by 2.5kg and matched Ms Kryukova’s total. As Tiffany weighed in lighter, we are pulling for the grand prize! The win! Tiffany in her typical energy stormed out onto the platform and pulled with all her might, leaving nothing left in the tank. That was it! We won!

Watch Coach Tiffany's lifts here:

Key Takeaways

  1. Developing habits: it is more important to develop habits to facilitate success than short term passion. Habits such as getting adequate rest, ensuring intake of well-planned meals and performing mobility drills goes beyond getting stronger, to enhancement of health outcomes too.

  2. Do not trust nomination numbers, it can be deceptive!

  3. During the competition preparation phase, train to compete. That means practicing the lifts accurately to secure 3 white lights, leaving no room for the referees to doubt the accuracy of the lift. Circling back to developing habits, if we train with commands given, it will be less likely for athletes to skip the head referee’s command during competition day.

  4. Do not worry about being behind another athlete in numbers. That adds unnecessary stress to making risky jumps and unforced errors. Do your best within your ability, provided that you have developed the habits (see point 3) and trust your coaches. If you do not have a powerlifting coach or platform coach you can trust, find us (shameless plug here)!

All in all, it was a fruitful outing! As an IPF category 2 referee, I also managed to squeeze in a session of judging duties while coaching Tiffany and Issac on two separate days. After which, I had some nice outdoor climbs with the beautiful views of Shek O and Cape Collinson. Thanks Joel for liaison, KY Diogo Cat for flying over to join the climbs. Once again, congratulations to Isaac for coming in 2nd in the men’s open 59kg category and Tiffany for winning the women’s open 63kg category!


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