KUCHING: National powerlifter Stephanie Mary Ensol’s hopes of competing in the World Championships have been dashed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Malaysian Association for Powerlifting (MAP) has decided not to send a team to the competition, slated to be held in Minsk, Belarus this September, for safety and health reasons.
The pandemic has already forced the cancellation of 1st SEA Cup in Bangkok, Thailand in April and it was a double blow for the 32-year-old lifter from Kampung Remun, Serian as she was scheduled to take part in both competitions.
Stephanie was looking forward to winning more glory for Sarawak and the country in three major competitions this year after recording impressive achievements last year where she won a silver at the IPF Asian Pacific Classic and Equipped Powerlifiting and Bench Press Championship in Gold Coast, Australia in March.
In September, Stephanie lifted two gold and a silver medals at the Commonwealth Powerlifting Championship in Canada and finished a respectable seventh in the World Classic Powerlifting Championships in Helsingborg, Sweden in June.
She powered to overall gold in the Women’s Under 47kg in the Asian Classic Powerlifting Championship in Almaty, Kazakhstan in December.
She also captured the gold in the deadlift and silvers in the bench press and squat disciplines.
She has four national titles and three Singapore national titles under her belt.
“I am really, very disappointed with this latest development as I have been preparing very hard for three major competitions this year since January.
“The World Championships was scheduled for the end of May or early June but was postponed to Sept 23 to Oct 4,” said Stephanie.
She accepted the national body’s decision but revealed that they could have waited a bit longer before making the decision, considering the uncertainty of the virus situation.
The petite lifter is now hoping that she would be able to compete at the IPF Asian Classic Powerlifting Championship in Indonesia in December.
“I am hoping to defend my titles in this championship,” she told The Borneo Post yesterday.
Stephanie has been training six days in a week with two sessions a day under Neil Pick, working on the three different disciplines namely the squat, bench press and deadlift and also training on accessory exercises to complement her main exercise.
As for 2021, Stephanie hopes that it would be an uninterrupted sporting calendar and with Covid-19 precautions in place at future international events, she is expecting 2021 to be a great year.
She plans to compete in the IPF World Championship in South Africa, Commonwealth Powerlifting Championship in New Zealand and Asian Classic Powerlifting Championship in Taiwan.
Meanwhile, MAP said its executive committee, after a thorough discussion, had unanimously agreed not to send its national athletes to the World Championships.
“With athletes’, coaches’ and officials’ health, national safety and social responsibility as top priority, we made this very difficult decision at our last exco meeting.
“With on going travel advisories, border control measures and quarantine protocols, we must be role models in playing our part as a national association,” said MAP.
The decision was based on its commitment in providing a safe platform for athletes to compete and as a preventive measure to protect the athletes, coaches, officials and their family and communities.
MAP added it would continue to assess the global situation and is hoping to send a team to Asian Championships this year.