By: Emil Noguera (Manila Times)

Even at a very young age, Regie Ramirez has been a constant medal winner for the national junior powerlifting team in major international tournaments including the prestigious World Championships.

On his first entry into the World Junior Powerlifting Championships held in Canada two years ago, Ramirez won a silver medal in bench press. A year after, he clinched the gold medal in deadlift and another silver in squat.

“Winning medals in a world-class tournament is such a huge achievement for me. It’s a result of all the hard work during trainings,” said the 20-year-old Ramirez in Filipino.

Recently, Ramirez added another feather to his cap when he spearheaded the country’s seven-gold, two-silver and three-bronze romp in the 2013 Asian Powerlifting Championships held in Ahwaz, Iran.

Competing in the boys’ 53-kilogram class, Ramirez copped gold medals in squat (440 lbs.) bench press (248 lbs.), deadlift (579 lbs.), garnering a record-breaking total of 1,168 lbs. He broke the Asian records in all four events.

“I didn’t know that I broke all those records until the end of the competition. It was an overwhelming experience, seeing your name on the list of record holders, I couldn’t ask for more,” he said.

Achieving such feat is not a walk in the park, according to Ramirez, and he wants to be a good example to those young athletes who want to excel in their respective sports.

“If you really want to achieve something, you need to, first, trust yourself that you can do it. Second, discipline in all aspects -- training, proper diet and sleeping habit. Third, follow and respect your coaches. They know what’s best for you, they see your flaws, they’ll guide you to correct those flaws,” stressed Ramirez, who started lifting weights at the age of 16 under the watchful eye of his uncle and mentor, Tony Koykka.

“Take it easy. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Enjoy the training, the competition, meet new friends,” he added.

Ramirez is also against the use of performance enhancing substances.

“It’s a big no. There’s no health benefit taking those banned drugs. It helps you for now, mabilis ka lumakas pero mabilis din babagsak ang katawan mo [You will gain strength fast but your body will also deteriorate fast]. And it’s better to lose in a competition than winning but doing such a thing. Tayong mga Pilipino, patas lumaban. Mas masarap manalo na nasa tama [Filipinos prefer to put up a fair fight. It’s always good to win within the rules],” he said.

Ramirez is currently competing in the Philippine Olympic Committee-Philippine Sports Commission (POC-PSC) Philippine National Games powerlifting competition as part of his build up for the 2013 World Junior Powerlifting Championships scheduled in August in Texas, USA.

The PSC is supporting the travel expenses of the Powerlifting Association of the Philippines. It also provided a five-year supply of food supplement for all the members of the team.