Malaysia Tatler - - FEATURES -

ac­tu­ally pre­fer Whit­ney Hous­ton,” grins John-hans Oei when I ask if some trop­i­cal house mu­sic would help set the mood for his photo shoot. Min­utes later, Sav­ing All My Love For You blares on the speakers as he dusts his hands with chalk, leav­ing a dra­matic cloud of dust in his wake. Un­afraid to tackle his short­com­ings, the pow­er­lifter ad­vises pri­ori­tis­ing the ex­er­cises that will strengthen your weak­nesses. “Most peo­ple avoid do­ing so be­cause their ego gets in the way, but as the say­ing goes: A chain is only as strong as its weak­est link,” he grunts be­fore ex­e­cut­ing a flaw­less snatch. It was this at­ti­tude that al­lowed John-hans to co­found the Malaysia Pow­er­lift­ing Al­liance in 2014, fol­lowed by the Asia Pow­er­lift­ing Al­liance (APA) in 2017. Un­daunted by un­charted waters, he and his friend, who is nick­named QL, cre­ated the first lo­cal plat­form for com­pet­i­tive pow­er­lift­ing. “We unify hun­dreds of pow­er­lifters around the coun­try via or­gan­ised com­pe­ti­tions,” he beams. “And APA will also help sur­round­ing Asean coun­tries such as Sin­ga­pore, Viet­nam and China achieve a sim­i­lar vi­sion.” Tak­ing prece­dence over the con­cept of com­pe­ti­tion is com­rade­ship and ca­ma­raderie. “Ev­ery­one is wel­come, no mat­ter your back­ground, cul­ture, life­style or lift­ing records,” es­tab­lishes John-hans. “The best van­tage point to look and learn from each other is at eye level. It’s im­por­tant to sur­round your­self with those who share your pas­sion and drive for a sport, as it only makes you want to be bet­ter in every as­pect.”

LIKE DAD LIKE SON The son of an ex-state rugby player, John-hans al­ways had a sporty streak, and rep­re­sented his state in foot­ball and hand­ball

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