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A different game of strength

Argie Lumabit, the winner of the under-159 pound division, was preparing for his lift in this piece of action.
By Ivan Saldajeno

LOS BAÑOS--When someone hears the word "weightlifting", chances are he will assume that it is pertaining to the clean-and-jerk routine that made Hidilyn Diaz an Olympic medalist.

But in this town, "weightlifting" has a different meaning of sorts.

A certain fitness gym organized a weightlifting competition on Wednesday night here, but the name of the game is not clean-and-jerk but bench press.

"Ang focus namin dito ay ang upper body strength," said Joseph Manzanilla, the owner of Power Matrix Gym and the head organizer of the said gym's bench press competition, which was on its sixth edition.

The said weightlifting event that took place this year at the parking lot of Vega Center, where the gym is located, made a return after four years.

Manzanilla added that he forewent a clean-and-jerk competition in favor of a bench press competition because most, if not all, of his contestants are not focusing on strengthening their entire bodies, particularly their legs.

"Karamihan sa kanila, upper body lang ang pinapalakas. Eh ang clean-and-jerk, kailangan mo rin ng lower body strength doon," he said in particular.

Still, it did not stop a foreigner from competing in the said event.

"It was a crazy but amazing experience," said Vit'a Menc, a native of Czech Republic who studies at the UP campus here as an exchange student, about joining the event. "I was nervous being the only foreigner."

Menc, who plays football and ice hockey back home, showed how strong he is despite his 129-pound  frame by lifting 200 pounds, eventually finishing runner-up in his division.

But the biggest winner of the event was Argie Lumabit, who despite being just a shade over 150 pounds lifted 335 pounds, eclipsing the tournament record of 310 pounds that he also established four years ago.

Meanwhile, Manzanilla bared to Dugout Philippines that he is eyeing to make the bench press competition an annual event while opening the doors to people from other parts of Laguna and even from nearby provinces.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno