Beyond smashing world records, powerlifting has boosted Farhanna Farid’s self-confidence and mental well-being—and she hopes to empower more women to embrace their strength

Farhanna Farid was introduced to powerlifting about six years ago by her then-boyfriend, now-husband, and she quickly fell in love with the sport. Having always been athletic, Farhanna also realised she had a knack for powerlifting when on a regular day training at the gym, she deadlifted what she later found out was the national record weight at the time. This prompted her to hire a coach to start training for competitions, and today, the 30-year-old is a world record holder in the deadlift and even coaches other athletes, including her husband.

In September last year, she deadlifted 201 kg to achieve the world record in the Under-52 kg category, rewriting her own record of 200.5 kg set three months prior. Then in December that same year, she broke her own record yet again with a deadlift of 202kg. She has also broken five Asian records and is the first Singaporean to win an overall gold medal in an international powerlifting competition for the women’s open category. 

Read more: 15 Minutes with Bianca Bustamante, the First Southeast Asian W Series Racing Driver

Tatler Asia

In the beginning, Farhanna’s parents were against her decision to take up powerlifting. “It was a rare and odd thing for a girl to be powerlifting back then. My family and friends were more concerned than they were supportive. They were worried that I might look like a man and had all these preconceived judgments because they didn’t know any better,” says the national athlete, who is also a medical information specialist. Despite this, she was confident of the benefits she gained from powerlifting and stuck with it. 

“I have always moved to the beat of my own drum,” Farhanna says. “I aim to prove people wrong and show them that there is another side to what they may think is the truth. These uncharted territories excite me because there’s a 50 per cent chance of failing, but there’s also a 50 per cent chance of discovering something great.”