Singapore’s powerlifting brothers Matthew and Matthias Yap emerged victorious at the Asian Classic Powerlifting Championships in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia, on Thursday (6 December). Together they clinched six gold medals, with Matthew setting a new Asian record in his Under-74kg junior division’s squat competition.
The strength sport requires competitors to perform three lifts: The squat, bench press and deadlift.
Matthew, 19, had broken two world records when he competed in last year’s edition, as he won two gold medals in the U-66kg sub-junior division. This year, he maintained his winning ways as he progressed to his new division, with his 248kg effort in the squat competition breaking the old Asian record set in 2012 by 3kg.
With a silver in the deadlift (265kg) and a bronze in the bench (150kg), the second-year media production and design student at Republic Polytechnic claimed the overall gold too with a total of 663kg.
Meanwhile, his younger brother Matthias, 18, was competing in the sub-juniors (14 to 18 years old) for the final time. Matthias, who recently completed his diploma in pastry and baking from Shatec, swept all four golds at stake in the U-74kg division: Squat (200kg), bench (110kg), deadlift (227.5kg) and total (537.5kg).
He tried to break the Asian record for the squat in his third attempt, but could not lift 213kg.
Matthew, together with elder brother and coach Marcus, 24, had first made the news in June last year, when they were detained in the Belarusian capital Minsk after the World Classic Powerlifting Championships after a visa mix-up. With not enough money to buy new plane tickets, they eventually managed to return home after Powerlifting Singapore started a crowdfunding campaign to secure enough cash donation to pay for the tickets.