Giving aspiring athletes a lift

  • Metro News
  • Saturday, 24 Aug 2019

Strongwoman champion Joyce Heng Shu Xia flipping a tire as part of the training under the academy at the front compound of her house in Kolombong.

KOTA KINABALU: Following her victory at a world competition, strongwoman Joyce Heng Shu Xia now wants to train aspiring strongman and strongwoman athletes to make the sport more well-known.

The homegrown athlete who took home the women’s open title at the Static Monsters World Championship in Australia in June, is initiating an informal academy for free in hope that more youths in Sabah will take up the strength-based sport.

Unlike bodybuilding which focuses on aesthetic or physical muscle definition, strongman competitions require participants to conduct various feats as a show of strength, mostly in lifting items.

“I believe we have a lot of potential strongman athletes. So with this academy, I hope we can produce world-class athletes and bring glory to Sabah and Malaysia, ” the 32-year-old told StarMetro.

Heng invited those who were interested in trying out, including the ones who simply want to get fit, to join her via Facebook. She plans to start training from this month onwards on weekends.

She said so far, she had received good response with many people wanting to know the location and activities.

“I call it Anytime Strongman Academy and training will be held at the area near my house in Kolombong.

“There is no age or weight limit as strongman/strongwoman competitions have age and weight categories, so anyone who wants to compete can do so.

“Those who are serious about doing this professionally can do weight training at my gym and then do strongman training at the academy on weekends.

“They will learn how to do all; the Tyre Flip, Atlas Stone, Truck Pull, Farmer’s Walk, Yoke Walk, Log Press and Car Deadlift. It will be similar to boot camp, ” Heng explained.

She said going through such training would not only develop one’s strength and endurance for the sport, but also help in one’s daily routines such as carrying heavy loads like cooking gas cylinders.

“While the academy training is free of charge as a way for me to give back to the community, anyone is free to chip in as I would use such funds to get more training gear.

“At the moment, my items are limited and I am still in the process of making some of the equipment myself, ” she added.

She reminded that the sport required discipline, self-motivation and mental strength, as well as the need to take part in competitions every few months.

Formerly active in bodybuilding, Heng turned to strongwoman competitions in 2017. To-date, she has competed in over 16 competitions (nine local and seven international), and she is currently ranked 1st (women’s open) in Static Monsters World, the biggest strongman event of its kind in the world.

Based on points accumulated from competitions participated, she is also currently ranked 1st in Strongwoman Malaysia and Strongwoman Asia, and 22nd in Strongwoman World.

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