History was written as Strength Culture and HK Powerlifting teamed up to host the biggest weightlifting competition Hong Kong has ever seen, with a record 61 competitors. In addition to the competitors, audience members filled the competition room to maximum capacity, leaving other audience members to stream it online and through a TV in the lobby. Though the competition lasted the entire day, crowd energy remained extremely high, with audience members and competitors cheering and clapping for fellow competitors on the stage.
Juniors enter the competition
Weightlifting has seen a rise in popularity with those 21 years old or younger, and this competition was no exception. It featured 1 women's junior competitor, Kyla Valdejueza, as well as 2 junior men's competitors- Lam Kwong Ching and Darrell Pascua.
Kyla Valdejueza (62.15kg weigh-in) was a perfect 6 for 6 lifts, snatching 27kg, and later cleaning and jerking 40kg, giving her a total of 67kg and a Sinclair score of 88.54.
Darrell Pascua (77.4kg weigh-in) had the best snatch and C+J of 58kg and 70kg, totaling 128kg and a Sinclair of 159.32. Taking first place for the men's junior category was Lam Kwong Ching (75kg weigh-in), who snatched 65kg and cleaned and jerked 86kg, giving him a total of 151kg and a Sinclair score of 191.2. Still young, Lam Kwong Ching has several more years left as a junior, and this competition demonstrated that he has a lot of potential in the future.
Battle for 3rd place in the women's overall category
The women's overall category, with 19 total women, saw clear-cut places for the top two positions. #1 Shu Lee (51.15kg weigh-in) snatched above body-weight (55kg), and cleaned and jerked 75kg, totaling 130kg and giving her the top Sinclair score of 196.22. Also totaling the same 130kg was #2 Mandy So (54.5kg), who snatched 2kg more (57kg) and cleaned and jerked 2kg less (73kg), giving Shu Lee the higher Sinclair score by virtue of a difference of only 3kg in body weight.
Third place was a battle between 5 different competitors, where every single kg of body weight and weight on the bar mattered; in the end, 5 women were separated by only 4.64 Sinclair points. Coming out on top was #3 Heeju Kim, who edged out #4 Monica Brasil; both totaled the same 123kg, but Heeju Kim won with a weigh-in of 1kg less. Just millimeters behind were #5 Tania Ng, #6 Amy Lam, and #7 Evelyn Chan, all of whom demonstrated excellent lifting and some personal records. Third place could have gone to any of these 5 competitors, and we hope to see them battle it out again in future competitions!
C & J
Men: 42 compete over 2 sessions
A huge number of men competed, necessitating two separate sessions during the competition. Coming out on top was #1 Jonathan Cybulski (87.8 weigh-in), who snatched 118kg and cleaned and jerked 155kg, totaling 273kg and a Sinclair of 319.3 . The entire room burst into cheers as he made his attempts, especially during his third clean and jerk attempt of 160kg.
#2 Zubaid Toefy (67.4kg weigh-in) also broke the elite 300 Sinclair club and was extremely efficient, finishing with a score of 300.75 by having a snatch of 105kg, clean and jerk of 118kg, and a total of 223kg. He was in the first mens session, and had to wait until the second mens session to complete before his second place finish was solidified.
Rounding out the top competitors was #3 Richard Kwan (80kg weigh-in), who was a perfect 6 of 6 lifts, snatching 100kg and clean and jerking 133kg, totaling 233kg and getting a Sinclair of 285.04 .
#4 Alvin Chan, #5 Ringo Leung, and #6 Nick Chan were notable in that only 2.85 Sinclair points separated the three competitors, meaning every single kg mattered. Alvin Chan wowed the crowd during his first attempt on the clean and jerk, doing an easy power clean of 120kg while weighing only 72.1kg! Ringo Leung missed his second snatch of 102kg, but successfully got his third attempt at a higher weight of 104kg.
New HK records set
As our federation tracks the top 20 lifters in Hong Kong by standard IWF weight classes, this competition also saw 8 lifters set or break previous HK records:
W55 - #1 Shu Lee (130kg, breaks Vicky Tsang’s previous record of 93kg at AQ Strong’s Invitational)
W59 - #3 Heeju Kim (123kg, breaks #6 Amy Lam’s previous record of 113kg at AQ Strong’s Invitational)
W81 - #5 Tania Ng (141kg, newly set)
W+87 - #15 Rachael Wong (120kg, breaks her own previous record of 117kg at AQ Strong’s Invitational)
M73 - #2 Zubaid Toefy (223kg, breaks #4 Alvin Chan’s previous record of 210kg at a Movement Academy Test Event)
M81 - #3 Richard Kwan (233kg, breaks #5 Ringo Leung’s previous record of 222kg at AQ Strong’s Invitational)
M89 - #1 Jonathan Cybulski (273kg, breaks Matt Tung’s previous record of 261kg at AQ Strong’s Invitational)
M+109 - #17 Lok Lam (224kg, newly set)
Sponsorships and volunteers abound
Various sponsors helped with the competition, offering prizes to participants and winners, including protein, energy drinks, wrist wraps, and other items. The HK Weightlifters team gave thumb tape to every contestant, and also helped film the competition. Our federation sponsored cash prizes of $1200, $1000, and $800 to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in the womens and mens overall categories. And Lululemon HK sponsored tshirts to the numerous volunteers, who generously donated their time to help with the tech desk, plate loading, refereeing, and clean-up efforts. With so many athletes, spectators, volunteers, and sponsors, this competition displayed a true sense of community for weightlifting in Hong Kong.
And last but not least, the Strength Culture and HK Powerlifting teams did a wonderful job organizing and showcasing this event, and we thank them for hosting this competition. With so much energy in the crowd, we can only hope that more competitions and records will come in the future.