In honor of Women’s History Month, Das Tor is partnering with the Thunderbird Women in Business Club for an extension of their monthly “Spotlight Series.” During March, we are featuring stories of women at the Thunderbird School of Global Management who share what makes them unique and how they are making a global impact.
Hi, fellow T-birds! My name is Jenny, and I am a first-year Master’s in Global Management student, with concentrations in global business and legal studies. Like many T-birds, I have international roots. I’m half-Thai, half-Chinese, grew up in Bangkok, and moved to Hong Kong when I was 10. Aside from my global background, I have always been involved in sports since I was young. I started sprinting in middle school, and I also was the captain for the girls’ badminton team. When I was in college, I got into CrossFit and realized that gymnastics are not my cup of tea.
After this revelation, I decided to focus on weightlifting. Even though I was a beginner at the time, I was asked to participate in an open competition hosted by The Arnold, an international organization that hosts the largest multi-sport festivals in the world. In preparation for this challenge, I remembered doing stupid things at the gym with no proper coaching or program; everything was self-taught. As time went on, however, I began to notice my progress stagnating, and that led me to join a barbell club where lifters would come together and train. Through this club, I was introduced to an American weightlifting coach, who has always challenged me, and I thank him for doing that. I seriously wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for his mentorship.
I have come a long way since my first competition. I am now ranked as one of the strongest weightlifters in Hong Kong, competing in the 59 kilogram (130 pounds) category with a combined total of 158 kilograms (approximately 348 pounds). I have been in this sport for more than 3 years and have won 2 silver medals so far. One of these medals was at the 2018 Weightlifting Open Championships in the Philippines hosted by Olympic silver medalist Hidalyn Diaz, where I lifted a total of 137 kilograms (over 302 pounds). I won my second silver medal at the Singapore National Open Weightlifting Championship 2019, where my total weight lifted was 139 kilogram (over 306 pounds). In that event, I even beat the Singaporean national team, which came in third in my category.
While I have been successful, being a competitive weightlifter is not easy. I train 5 times a week and compete internationally once a year. My philosophy is this: Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, but this is all a part of learning and growing. Results don’t come overnight; it takes time, a LOT of time. There’s NO shortcut, NO BS, and NO special treatment whatsoever. Just 100% effort, dedication, and consistent training.
I want to inspire people, especially girls, to lift heavy weights. Beyond that, however, I want them to enjoy eating and living a healthy lifestyle. I have never gone on a diet, and I have the biggest sweet tooth among my teammates. Being healthy or an athlete doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself–you just need dedication and the confidence and drive to succeed.
Lifting has definitely made me stronger physically and mentally. My message is this: Everyone starts somewhere, so don’t be afraid to pick up something new in life. Always remind yourself how badly you want it and fight for it. Find your motivation and goals in everything that you do.