By Grace Tacuyan
Squat. Bench. Deadlift. That was what 43 lifters did for 9 total attempts on Saturday, July 8, 2023 Summer Showdown organized by the Guam Powerlifting Federation. For this meet, Christian Duenas had the role of meet director and had planned this for months. “Along with my team (Guam Powerlifting Federation), we thought that hosting a local meet, although not sanctioned, was our way of giving back to our small island community. We were able to afford the opportunity for the lifters a chance to compete in a powerlifting meet.”
Lifters ranging from 13 to 52 years of age stepped onto the platform and tested their absolute strength after months of training. Despite the challenges of Typhoon Mawar and its aftermath, the athletes continued to train. Duenas added. “I also wanted this meet to set the tone for future local competitions with well organized and planned meets, but also ignite that fire in the competitors to take their talents off island to represent our island in different powerlifting federations.” As one of the few Masters lifters, Elaine Damian, 52 of Yigo used this meet to test all the hard work she put in for the past several weeks. “I showed up at The Fortress. My coach had strength and conditioning workouts planned a few months before the meet. We had practice sessions with the team to work on form and listen to commands. Made sure I was getting enough rest and eating clean.”
With a majority of lifters not only being brand new to the sport, but competing for the first time, the gym was filled with anxious, but excited lifters. When asked how he prepped for this meet, For Zander James De Leon, 18 from Dededo, he only had 4 weeks of prep. “I just had the Trenheads x GSPN meet. I wasn’t supposed to compete in the Summer Showdown until there’s were a few spots left. My mentor Elvin asked if I wanted to compete and I said ‘yeah, let’s do it!’” For some, it wasn’t just a first time meet, it was the first time training specific for Powerlifitng under strict programming. “I grew up working for my dad and I kinda approached each lift like i was doing yardwork. Thinking about how much my family, coaches, and friends sacrificed for me to get here and I wanted to make them proud and I felt like I did,” said Dorian Teria, 21 from Chalan Pago.
With the growth of powerlifting across the island, local meets provide an opportunity for the lifters to test all their hard work in a safe environment, amongst their peers and being judged by other lifters and coaches for have competed off-island in sanctioned meets. Angelo Macugay III, 36 from Yigo not only coached several lifters, but competed as well. “I had a blast, but I am definitely more proud of what my people were able to showcase. We had a handful of PRs, everyone earned a medal (or two), and I could see on their faces and hear in their tones how happy they were to do something they never thought they’d do.”
So what’s next for these lifters?! “For Christian Lomangaya, 25 from MTM, “I’ll continue to put in the work, push past my limits, and let the results do the talking. Next meet, “all white lights”, that’s the end goal.” Roquel Cendaña, 23 from Dededo summed it up for a lot of the thoughts of many lifters, “The typhoon took a toll on all of us, no doubt. I’m just glad to have been able to show up and do the best with what I’ve got.”
As for her next move? “It’s only up from here. There’s still lots of room to grow and improve. My main goal is to hone in on my tech and hopefully compete in an official meet. My only competition in this timeline is me. It’s all about self growth and improvement on my end.”