The Philippine Powerlifting team amassed a Best Lifter 1st runner-up trophy, 8 gold, 17 silver, and 1 bronze medal in the 2012 Asian Powerlifting Championships that was held recently in Udaipur, India with all team members bringing home medals. The team also achieved 4 world records, 11 Asian records, and 23 Philippine records
The team was led by Anita Koykka, the best active powerlifter in the Philippines at this time. Koykka, who competed with lifters who were 20-30 years younger, proved that age doesn’t matter by getting 1 gold& 3 silver medals in the very tough Open category. In the process, she achieved 5 Masters World records and consequently 7 Asian records. Koykka’s gold medal came from her 90kg benchpress. In addition, Koykka earned Open Best Lifter (MVP) 1st runner-up honors, a very difficult achievement.
There were tough moments for Koykka as she failed her 85kg 1st attempt in the bench press. She came back strongly in making her 2nd attempt, still at 85kg, before achieving the world record on her 3rd attempt. In the deadlift, her165kg world-record-breaking try on her 2nd attempt was red-flagged due to a mere technicality she corrected well with an easy 165kg on her 3rd attempt. In the squat, there were no problems at all on her 155kg 2nd attempt which was her first try at a world record in this competition. In the end, her 410kg total broke her own world record Total.
Betina Bordeos was a crowd favorite due to her strong lifts and charming beauty. Competing in the Juniors class, the 21-year-old’s rank was moving back &forth between first place to last place due to the very close lifts among all the other lifters. While Bordeos’ bronze in the squat was expected, she was disappointed with “only” a silver medal in the bench press where she was edged out by a Kazakhstan lifter on having a lower body weight but with identical lifts of 85kg. However, Bordeos came roaring back to get the gold deadlift event with a lift of 167.5kg, a new Asian Junior record, to catch up to the other lifters and win the gold in the Total with 385kg combined squat, bench press & deadlift.
19-year-old Reggie Ramirez lived up to expectations when he ruled all the events in the 53kgJuniors class with gold medals in the squat, bench press, deadlift for a total of 482.5kg to win 4 gold medals. Another Filipino lifter, Raph Hidalgo, won 4 silver medals to make it a 1-2 finish for the Philippines in the same weight class by overwhelming the 3rd running Uzbekistan lifter. Actually, Hidalgo had some opportunities to edge out teammate Ramirez for the gold in the bench press & deadlift. Ramirez had to successfully lift 105kg in the bench press and struggled with 197.5kg deadlift, barely making it, to beat Hidalgo. Ramirez’s 180kg squat, however, was never threatened. Ramirez’s bench press, deadlift & total were all-new Asian Junior records.
John Castelar, lifting in the 74kg Sub-Juniors class, lifted 205kg in what seemed to be a successful lift for the bronze medal in the squat, even better than his earlier 190kg successful attempt. However, 2 of 3 judges thought otherwise and red-flagged it. Frustrated with the squat results, the 18-year-old Castelar focused on the bench press where he opened with 130kg. He again got red-flagged on a technicality. Making sure on his 2nd attempt, he easily heaved130kg to get a comfortable lead against an Indian lifter for a guaranteed bronze. Castelar then successfully lifted 137.5kg on his 3rd attempt to overtake the Kazakh lifter for the silver.
Clark Cruz comfortably won the deadlift gold medal in the 93kg Sub-Juniors class with225kg, well below his limit but taking the safe route to winning it over a big Afghan lifter to successfully defend the gold he won in last year’s Asian Championships. However, with Cruz having a minor injury, he settled for the silver medal in the bench press (130kg), squat (230kg) & total behind the same Afghan lifter whose bodyweight was 20 pounds heavier.
Head of Delegation Ramon Debuque also contributed a medal, winning the silver in the bench press event of the 93kg Masters II category with a 160kg bench press. There were tense moments as Debuque got red-flagged on his first 2 attempts on technicalities. But with proper motivation on his 3rd attempt, he finally lifted it successfully.
Raymond Debuque, son of the head of the delegation, scored 4 silver medals. Due to a knee injury, Raymond had to take a much lower weight attempt in the squat, allowing the Iraqi lifter to win the gold over him and eventually the total. In the bench press and deadlift, Raymond beat the Iraqi lifter with lifts of 180kg & 230kg respectively but an Afghani out-lifted him for the golds.
Coaches for the team were Eddie Torres & Ramon Debuque.
243 lifters from 16 countries were nominated in the competition including Afghanistan, Iraq, Japan, India, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Oman, Indonesia, Philippines, Hong Kong, Mongolia, Taiwan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, & United Arab Emirates.
The team was supported by Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, Dewfoam, and Gold’s Gym.
Anita Koykka (52 kg Open) – 1 Gold, 3silvers, 1 Best Lifter 1st runner-up, 5 world records, 7 Asian records, 9 Philippine records
Betina Bordeos (57kg Juniors) – 2Golds, 1 silver, 1 bronze, 1 Asian record, 1 Philippine record
Regie Ramirez (53kg Juniors) – 4 golds,3 Asian records, 7 Philippine records
Raph Hidalgo (53kg Juniors) – 4 silvers
John Castelar (74kg Sub-Juniors) – 1Silver, 4 Philippine records
Clark Cruz (93kg Sub-Junior) – 1 Gold,3 Silvers
Ramon Debuque (93kg Master II) – 1silver, 2 Philippine records
Raymond Debuque (120+ kg Junior) – 4silvers