Pinay powerlifter shines

PHILIPPINES NEWS SERVICE — Patricia Llena did the country proud as she captured three gold and one bronze medals in the 2009 World Sub-Junior and Junior Powerlifting Championships in Ribeirao Preto, Sao Paolo, Brazil earlier this month.

The 15-year-old Llena lifted a total of 420 kgs. in three events to beat American Kendra Miller and three-time Russian world champion Talybova Yana for the overall crown.

Llena added two more golds by lifting 170 kg. in the squat class and 170 kg. in the deadlift category as she emerged the lone Filipino entry to win in the event participated in by more than 30 countries,

Llena, a pride of San Antonio, Nueva Ecija, brought home the bronze medal in the bench press event by lifting 80 kgs.

Incidentally, Llena will also compete in the 2010 Youth Olympics weightlifting competitions in Singapore after finishing 10th in the first World Youth Weightlifting Championship last May in Chang Mai, Thailand.

The future looks bright for Llena as she intends to compete in more weightlifting and powerlifting events.

“Gusto ko po maging nutritionist and, at the same time, makabreak ng mga records,” said the soft-spoken Llena.

Leonard Llena, his father and coach, recalled how her daughter started lifting weights at a young age of four.

“I discouraged her from pursuing the sport but she insisted to be trained. That started everything,” said Leonard Llena, a pastor and a former national weightlifter in his heydays.

Nick Cabalza, vice president of the Powerlifting Association of the Philippines, said that Patricia is a perfect role model for athletes her age.

“Being an athlete, magandang inspiration siya sa mga bata who would want to go into the sport. Maganda rin ang background niya dahil mayroon siyang Christian values. Hindi lang tayo natutuwa sa accomplishments niya sa sports, pati na rin sa character niya,” said Cabalza.