My name is Willord Capulong and I work with Joyce Reboton, a Filipino athlete in the sport of Powerlifting.
I want you to meet Joyce. She is currently the rank #1 among Philippine powerlifters, and arguably the strongest classic female powerlifter in Philippine History.
Here is a brief history of her Powerlifting journey:
- I encouraged Joyce to start competing in the 3-lift powerlifting event, which was about 7 years ago.
- In 2017, she was qualified to be part of the National Team after breaking national Powerlifting records. She wins in other strength sports too, such as CrossFit and Strongman, where she also earned the title of the 'Philippine's Strongest Woman'.
- In 2018, she won 8 gold medals for the Philippines by competing in the APF Asian Powerlifting Classic Championships at Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, and the Asian Powerlifting Championships at Udaipur, India.
- In 2019, she won gold medals in the Asian Pacific Powerlifting Championships at Gold Coast, Australia, and was awarded the best female lifter. She was able to set new Asian Records from these competitions. Later that year in her first World Powerlifting Championships in Sweden, she won the bronze medal for the Squat in the Open category (u84kg).
- In 2020, she became the only female Asian Powerlifter qualified to compete in the most prestigious powerlifting exhibition in the U.K., which later was postponed due to the lockdowns.
- This year, Joyce's stellar lifting performance qualifies her to participate in a few international powerlifting events. One of which is the World Classic Powerlifting Championships in Sweden (60 days from now), where she has a chance to win medals and bring honor to our country: https://goodlift.info/onenomination.php?cid=585 She is currently 4th in the ranking, but given the chance to participate, she can compete for a podium finish.
Here are some facts about Powerlifting (the ultimate strength test of the squat, bench press, and deadlift movements):
- The sport we dedicate our careers to is not part of the Olympic games, as it is being treated differently from other strength sports, such as Olympic Weightlifting.
- Raw Powerlifting's Olympic inclusion is already in process for the 3-lift events. Since its debut, Paralympic powerlifting (1-lift bench press-only event) has been included in every edition of the Olympic Games.
- Powerlifting is now part of the World Games (next in 2022), where the world's best athletes in sports and disciplines that are not yet part of the Olympic Games compete.
- While not as highly recognized as Olympic Weightlifting yet, the increase in viewership and participation over the years has been significant (Image: Arnold's Sports Festival 2019).
THE REALITY IN POWERLIFTING
With my years of observation and participation in the sport as a lifter/S&C coach, I learned that Powerlifting is a locally unprioritized sport. This is not to blame the government because they are being supportive even if Powerlifting is inferiorly prioritized with other sports.
Here is a summary of what I learned with Joyce in the context of being a national representative competing internationally in Powerlifting:
- If you are a national Powerlifting competitor (at least with Joyce's case), expect to receive no financial support outside of any international competition.
- Expect to also cover your own training expenses, including nutrition, psychology, training facility (not entitled for national benefits, more about this later), etc.
- Aside from being expected to train as a full-time, dedicated athlete to your sport, look for other income revenues to cover your daily expenses.
- Financial support is only available when there is an international competition to represent the country... BUT you need to assure your sponsor, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) of medal potential. If you couldn't and you are deemed qualified by the Powerlifting Association of the Philippines (PAP), you can still represent the country BUT you have to pay for your own.
- In my opinion, PSC while having good intentions, receives credit, and may be perceived as fully funding the lifter year-round. Please correct me if I am wrong, but in this case, the support only comes when the athlete reaches the highest stage and when he/she is in a sure-podium situation. The least gamble possible, but the good news is they show support.
- It is unlucky that by categorization, our sport is prioritized the least. As we witnessed success in how this administration progressed sporting programs through the PSC, I think it's about time to re-visit the handbook.
- As a strength sports enthusiast, my suggestion for PSC, being a government agency that promotes leadership, formulates policies, and sets priorities and direction for all amateur sports, is to consider reforming its support and development programs concerning individual strength sports.
- We attempted to seek qualification for 'National Athlete/Coach' defined in the REPUBLIC ACT No. 10699 to invigorate participation in powerlifting by being able to claim any benefits stated in the law. According to PAP (as of July 2020), there is no response yet from their request. In essence, Joyce is not yet legally a 'national athlete' and is not entitled to any benefit.
- PSC may consider granting exemptions in fully supporting, funding, and/or incentivizing international-level Filipino competitors participating in non-Olympic strength sports i.e. Powerlifting, Bodybuilding, Strongman, CrossFit, Kettlebell Sport. These are for international athletes not labeled as a 'national athlete' by RA 10699. PSC may take into account other factors as well (e.g. degree of time required to succeed, physical demands of the sport, training hours to stay competitive at a high level, and so on).
Here are some details about my financial situation with Joyce:
- As a full-time athlete, Joyce does not get the same privilege as other athletes competing for mainstream sports.
- As you know, competing at a high level requires hundreds of training hours, nutrition, learning, injury management, local competition spending, etc. Over the years, we got to our level by spending our hard-earned money to afford gym memberships, sports nutrition, programming, powerlifting apparel, gym equipment (pandemic), and other expenses related to progress in training.
- Powerlifting is our bread and butter. With eyes closed, we endure all the financial hardships brought about by the pandemic in the fitness industry, where gyms are mostly closed during lockdowns.
- For several months when the gym is not operating in 2020, we regularly traveled 13+km to train at our friend's house. This is the point where we wanted to stop training...
- To keep the dream alive, we used our life savings to rent a space to build a 6 square meter gym
- Now, we can train regularly using Gov. Steve Solon's donation for gym equipment and other makeshift weights
Describing our financial burden:
- Still, we are grateful to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for its support to the Powerlifting Association of the Philippines (PAP). PAP is the powerlifting body that organizes local competitions. These competitions allowed Joyce to bloom in her sport. PAP remains reliant and constrained by the amount of support it receives.
- For Joyce's Powerlifting competition/s this year, we were informed by PAP that the World Competition funding is not guaranteed, delayed, based on medal potential only (beyond 3rd place means no funding) and could be partial, by any chance anything is approved. The approval process also takes a lot of follow-ups and back and forth. It can extend to several weeks.
- If we want to compete, we need to submit visa financial requirements and time is not on our side.
- This could mean not being able to participate due to failure in obtaining visa approval on time since the initial process alone require fees and proof of financial sustenance.
- It means, that if we desire to progress in this sport and bring prestige to our country, we have no choice but to shell out funds from our pockets which we don't have.
So far, we have done our part in making sure Joyce is ready to compete. Here are our accomplishments in particular with this competition:
- July 5, 2021: Joyce competed and won the best lifter award to qualify for the World Classic Powerlifting Competition
- July 19, 2021: Hon. Mayor Crisostomo Garbo's financial support of 10,000 PHP/200 USD from the Mabalacat City Government and their commitment to providing a quarantine facility when we get home
- July 27, 2021: Road to vaccination protection by receiving a single dose of J&J Janssen vaccine through Hon. Mayor Carmelo Lazatin Jr. of Angeles City Government. Being fully vaccinated is part of PAP's requirement for lifters who will compete in Sweden
- July 29, 2021: Hon. Mayor Crisostomo Garbo's financial support of 10,000 PHP/200 USD
- August 9-13, 2021: Schengen Visa Appointment (tentative)
- September 6-10, 2021: Visa approval dates (tentative)
- September 20-Oct 5: Departure and Arrival (tentative)
- October 5-14: 10-day facility quarantine (tentative)
- Since we have no one else to financially back us up, we are taking chances to seek sponsorship coverage so we can apply for the visa on time, and eliminate the fear of not having the means of sustenance. It takes away the burden so we can focus on training. We are in need of financial assistance to internationally compete.
- ANY AMOUNT means the world to us since we trained, sacrificed our time, mental and physical health to compete and bring pride to our country.
- We never expected that training to compete internationally in Powerlifting can be financially tough. I have spent so much to keep Joyce's training at a high level - we spend hours in training, athletic care, and mindset and she receives nothing but competition funding only (if the medal is assured). Since it's the world stage now, and that any medal is not assured, we were advised to NOT rely on the pending funding request because it may not be approved.
- It seems that competing feels impossible due to our financial situation. We try to keep our heads up and carry on with training.
- Elevate powerlifting and strength sports in our country. This is about having the chance to bring glory to our country with other strength sports outside of Olympic Weightlifting. Train hard, participate and compete no matter how difficult the circumstances are.
- As the country's top lifter and Powerlifting ambassador, Joyce cannot let the local powerlifting community down - whether we win or lose.
- We are blessed to be in the position to inspire future leaders of all genders, especially children to trust in God's will, pursue the dreams are in store for them, and believe in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The competition details, including cost estimates, are listed below:
- Dates: 09/23 to 10/03
- Competition: World Classic Powerlifting Championships
- Description: Worldwide Classic Powerlifting event participated by all IPF-sanctioned Powerlifting Federations
- Venue: Halmstad, Sweden
TOTAL COST: 328,244.11 PHP
- Meal allowance and show money for the visa application, as recommended by embassy: $52/day x 17 days x 2pax = $1768
- Visa Application Fees, VFS Processing Fees, Travel Insurance: 4,480 PHP + 1,520 PHP + 1,618 PHP x 2pax = 15,236 PHP
- Roundtrip Economy Airfare: 130,082 PHP (varies for Promotional flights)
- Departure flight via Turkish Airlines on Sep-20 (MNL-IST-GOT): 22,430 PHP x 2pax + 893 PHP payment processing fee = 45,753 PHP
- Bus and Train from Göteborg Landvetter Airport (GOT) to Halmstad C (HAD): 2,049 PHP x 2pax = 4,098 PHP
- Bus and Train from Halmstad (HAD) to Göteborg Landvetter Airport (GOT) 2,049 PHP x 2pax = 4,098 PHP
- Arrival flight via Turkish Airlines/PAL on Oct-2 (GOT-IST-HKG-MNL): 37,138 PHP x 2pax + 1,857 PHP payment processing fee = 76,133 PHP
- Travel Tax: $32 x 2pax = $64 / 3,221.76 PHP
- Participation Fee: 50 € x 1 lifter = 2,971.55 PHP
- Anti-Doping Fee: 60 € x 1 lifter = 3,565.85 PHP
- Event Hotel (AirBNB also an option): 5,164 PHP/night 1 room/2 persons x 14 nights (Sep 21 to Oct 4, with Oct 5 as check out date) + €200 admin fee to IPF = 84,165.83 PHP
We can only start applying for the visa in the next weeks if 100% of the financial estimates are covered. We thank you for your time reading this and for your financial support. Feel free to share this campaign with people who can support us.
For your reference, I prepared Joyce's athlete profile and citations:
- Full athlete profile: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1t9sPwp3Wsx5izDdC289G9M2CAyT3klhi7q4YM6A0ZDA/edit?usp=sharing
- Citations: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YMF7oNSW5Ky_ainZPtl9Z5ns06hnyGnpXIoebN56Tn0/edit?usp=sharing
If supporting online is not possible, you can also transfer through the following:
- Willord Capulong
- Bank Details:
- BPI Savings Account (Angeles-Balibago Branch)
- Account Name: Willord Talicol Capulong
- Account Number: 8739330689
- Bank Swift Code: BOPIPHMM
For questions, please contact us via email willord.capulong @yahoo. com and I will respond as soon as I can.
Thank you and God bless Philippine Strength Sports!
Thank you, Lord for all provision and blessings.
From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you and we pray for all the people who have supported or shared this campaign. We are not there yet but a little help goes a long way… stay safe, strong, and healthy!
We also extend our special thanks to the following people for making this journey possible:
- FNB Coaches and community for allowing us to grow and being our home gym for 5 years - to Coaches Merwin, Doc Chad, Lynette, and Doc Cheng
- Our CrossFit, Powerlifting, Strongman, Kettlebell, and Bodybuilding friends in Pampanga and Manila, as well as Teacher Sunny, Team Judgment, and CF Infinitas Family
- AF SM Clark Coaches and Staff who allowed us to become a member and train before the pandemic
- Reyes family for the support and offering a place to train during the pandemic
- SBD Apparel for sending Joyce wrist wraps, belt, and knee sleeves
- PopFit Garage/Rediron PL Team of Coach Joseph Jarlego for the support in building the terrace gym and donating supplements, Doc Ivan’s Grind Athletics community
- Badass Athletics by Mr. Gerald Rodriguez
- Aguila Atletika with Coach Paolo Escano
- Ambition PH led by Coach Luis de Mesa
- Kapekapeklub and other coffee friends for keeping Joyce caffeinated
- Gov. Steve Solon and Family
- PSC and PAP
- BARS PL team for always being there
- Francis ‘Kiks’ Retardo for your continuous support in Joyce’s powerlifting programming
- Last but definitely not the least, my family and Joyce’s family, relatives and close friends (Shayne, Nestor, Aaron, M2M) 🙏🏻