These athletes are putting Thailand on the global powerlifting map

  • Feb 07, 2020

The carpeted confines of a serviced apartment are an unlikely place to find a national powerlifting team. Don’t tell that to Shayada ‘Sha” Shulopas, Flo Napasab and Pornchita “Pam” Wongkhasum, though. Inside a renovated conference room in the Ascott Sathorn, the three young Thai athletes toil away into the night four or five times a week, performing the deadlifts, squats and bench presses that make up the sport of powerlifting.

This offshoot of Olympic weightlifting is beginning to boom worldwide. And thanks to athletes like them, Thailand is starting to turn heads on the global stage.

Along with Eric Smulders, an athlete based in Phuket, the three recently represented Thailand at the Asian Games in Kazakhstan, where they walked away with 16 medals—three gold, six silver, seven bronze. Now, they’re preparing for the first Thai Powerlifting National Championship (Feb 8) and the SEA Cup (Apr 10). Both events will be held in the Ascott Sathorn and put on by the Thai Powerlifting Federation—a drug-free powerlifting community that recently helped Thailand become the 116th country affiliated with the International Powerlifting Federation.

BK sat down with Sha, Flo and Pam to talk about training, their love for the sport, competing in Kazakhstan and representing their country ahead of these two landmark competitions.

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Why Thai women are switching from cardio to weight training

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