Setting The Bar: This SG Malay Woman Broke Deadlift World Record Twice


Qistina Bumidin •  Sep 26, 2022

Last week, Singapore's first female powerlifter, Farhanna Farid, broke the world record in the Under-52kg category with a 201kg deadlift at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Cup 2022 in Johor Bahru on 17th September. Her previous record (also a world record by the way) was 3 months ago, 200.5kg, which she had set at the World Open Classic Powerlifting Championships in Sun City, South Africa. If these two sentences made you gape in shock and awe, wait till you hear this - the 30-year-old is also a full-time medical information specialist and a part-time powerlifting coach. It's time you hear from Farhanna herself as she shares with us her story ?

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1. How did you get into powerlifting?

I started sometime in 2015 when I wanted to spend more time with my boyfriend, and I was curious to see what was so great about the gym. The first few visits felt foreign to me - but in due time, I became intrigued by lifting and started trying it out. I was pretty good at it, and my boyfriend decided to help me build my potential! ?

2. When did you realise you wanted to pursue powerlifting further?

Farhanna and her boyfriend. Credit: Intan Krishanty

I don’t think there was a definitive moment when I stopped to make that decision. One moment sort of led to another, and things snowballed over time. When my boyfriend realised I had unknowingly broken a national record at the gym without proper training, we decided to get a coach and sign up for my first meet ? One local meet led to another and eventually, I did my first international meet within my first year of competing. The rest since then has been history! ?

3. What are some of the setbacks you’ve faced throughout your journey in powerlifting, and how do you navigate them?

Credit: Intan Krishanty

I have been blessed to be in a position where I can pursue my passion without any significant discrimination. None that I have allowed to bother me and my progress at least. There was resistance amongst family members, friends and even fellow women in the beginning. This was back when women lifting weights was not exactly ‘accepted’ and normalised. I think the resistance came from concern; they just didn’t know better. The harder part about being a professional athlete is bearing the cost of competing since it’s currently self-funded. Depending on the location, one overseas championship easily rakes up SGD 2000-4000! ?

Ultimately, what keeps me going is knowing what I’m doing is doing more good than harm. Plus, it keeps me blissfully happy too! It helps to also have a supportive group of people in your corner to get you through the tough days. I will do whatever I can in my power to keep going ?

4. What’s your preparation like before each competition?

Credit: Intan Krishanty

My training centres around the 3 disciplines of powerlifting; squat, bench and deadlift. I do variations of it where my coach deems it necessary. We have high-volume days for conditioning and technique work, but there will be days when intensity (weight) is high, simulating that of a meet. Each training session brings challenges that further fortify my mind for Game Day. 3 months of prep is usually sufficient to peak for a powerlifting meet, especially since I’ve been at it for a while now!

5. Breaking your own record, which is a world record, and creating yet another world record simultaneously is the coolest thing ever! How do you feel about this?

Credit: Intan Krishanty

It was a moment in the making for awhile because I had hit those numbers in the gym but never officially on the platform. I was ready to take on the world stage in 2020, but COVID struck. So making that pull finally official was extremely relieving and surreal ?‍?

6. What would the future, in your opinion, be like regarding women and powerlifting in Singapore?

I believe we are entering a new era of powerlifting where we’ll witness even more remarkable strength from our community. I know we will see more fellow women taking on the platform. Women are discovering self-awareness and appreciation through lifting, breaking boundaries and pushing the glass ceiling. With such empowerment and confidence, I don’t think there’ll be a logical limit to our capabilities.

7.  So what's next for you?

Credit: Intan Krishanty

I’m preparing for the next competition, the Asian Championship 2022, which will be held at the end of the year in Dubai. We hope to keep chipping that World Record and see how far we can go with the current momentum. Aside from myself, I wish to grow my pool of athletes; groom them to be even more competitive than they already are. On top of that, I plan on helping the current committee grow the sport in Singapore. As the marketing and sponsorship lead for Powerlifting Singapore, the goal is to pump in enough funds for the federation to support its athletes and let them focus on what they’re good at; being top-level athletes. I don’t think I’ve made it just yet because the work is never done ?

P.S. We love hearing stories of women from our community breaking barriers to becoming the cool, amazing person they are today! We have loads of them, so read them and get inspired to break your record ?