Singaporean teenager sets new powerlifting world record

Gabriel Choo
Singaporean teenager Matthew Yap at the World Classic Powerlifting Championships in Minsk, Belarus, on Sunday (18 June). (Photo: Screengrab from International Powerlifting Federation’s video)

Singaporean teenager Matthew Yap has set a new squat world record at the World Classic Powerlifting Championships in Minsk, Belarus, on Sunday (18 June), according to media reports.

Yap, an 18-year-old Republic Polytechnic student, lifted 208kg in his final attempt under the men’s Under-66kg sub-junior division, which is for 14- to 18-year-olds. According to one report, the previous world record of 207.5kg was set by Swede Eddie Berglund in Texas last year.

Yap managed to clear 190kg during his first attempt but sat out on the second attempt of 202.5kg due to a cramp. This caused him to drop to the fourth position, which meant he would miss out on a squat medal if his third attempt didn’t go according to plan.

In the end, Yap managed to break the world record on his third try, overtaking Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Chebanov on the squat leaderboard and eventually earning him the gold medal.

Yap told the media that he was feeling the pressure. “Before my last attempt, I told myself that I had flown so far to come here and overcame so many obstacles that I’d better perform and make my sacrifices and hard work count”, he said.

Apart from the world-record win, Yap had a stellar performance at the tournament after also clinching bronze in the bench press with a 130kg attempt and a silver in the overall category with a deadlift attempt of 212.5kg.

Powerlifting Singapore said in a Facebook post that they were proud of Yap. “Well done, Matthew! We are stoked and can’t wait to see what you can do in the bench press and deadlift next!”, the post said.