From Injured Athlete to 1st Place in National Weightlifting Championship

by | Feb 28, 2021 | Olympic Weightlifting

Name: Daniel Tan
Age: 39
Occupation: Lawyer
Weight: 80kg
Height: 172cm

Daniel Tan - Warming Up for Olympic Weightlifting

In 2016, as a junior lawyer with a busy schedule, Daniel had to endure long work hours. He did not have time to exercise and felt tired all the time. He started gaining weight and his clothes did not fit. To improve his health, he started doing Crossfit regularly, but ended up with multiple injuries.

“Even though I used to be a competitive swimmer and waterpolo player, I often lacked the correct form.”

Daniel ended up injuring his back 3 times over a two month period. The back injuries were so serious that it resulted in doctor’s orders for three weeks of bedrest.


Daniel Tan with Coach Wu

From Crossfit to Coach Wu’s Barbell Club

After that, Daniel decided to look for a proper coach. He had heard about Coach Wu from friends at Crossfit and decided to train with Coach Wu at Level’s Barbell Club in Sep 2018.

“Weightlifting is a very technical sport and it is very important that you have a good coach.”

Coach Wu is a former member of the Chinese national weightlifting team and the former head coach of the Singapore Weightlifting Federation.

“Everyone is different – everyone’s body mechanics are slightly different,” said Daniel. “Coach Wu has a unique ability to identify where your weaknesses are and how your body should move for you. He can pinpoint exactly where you need to make amendments to improve your lifts. He also uses easy analogies for you to understand challenging concepts and techniques.”

“I’ve never had a coach who is able to fix your technique in such a precise manner – even back to my swimming days or water polo days.”

Daniel Tan Olympic Weightlifting

Placing first at the Singapore National Weightlifting Championship

In December 2020, Daniel signed up for Singapore’s National Weightlifting Championship, one of two National-level competitions in Singapore. These competitions serve as a platform for novice, intermediate and veteran lifters to meet other lifters, break national records, and qualify for the national team.

This was the first time Daniel had competed competitively since his swimming and water polo days in university, and he came in first in his weight and age category with PR on his snatch (78 kg).

Since then, Daniel has broken his 78kg PR and can now snatch 79kg and clean and jerk 95kg.


Daniel Tan Olympic Weightlifting

Advice to anyone who wants to improve their Olympic Weightlifting

As an ex-athlete, Daniel has advice for those looking to hone their weightlifting craft.

“Get an instructor. Get a good coach. In any sport, it is always advisable to get a coach that is knowledgeable.”

“You can go to any commercial gym and get a personal trainer, but many of them don’t know what they’re doing. How do you expect to coach people if your only experience is using machines at the gym?”

“Here at Level, the coaches know what they’re doing, they come from different sporting backgrounds and they take pride in their craft.”


Daniel Tan Olympic Weightlifting

On why he likes training at Level

Having trained at Level since we opened our 14 Robinson branch, Daniel treats Level like his second home. On days when he’s at work (just across the street), he comes to the Barbell Club 4-5 times a week. When he’s working from home, he comes 3 times a week.

“The equipment at Level is top notch – Eleiko barbells, weights, with a solid weightlifting platform.“

“Level is not like a commercial gym, where you’re having to come into close contact with a lot of people – which is great during this pandemic season. You expose yourself to a lot less risk”, said Daniel.

“Honestly, the Barbell Club is a place of good laughs, encouragement and camaraderie. I have made lasting friendships here, even with those that no longer attend the Barbell Club.”



Interested to learn more about Olympic Weightlifting? Barbell Club classes run twice a day at our 14 Robinson Road branch. A single drop-in session costs $80, which will be refunded in credits if you take up our 15 class pack or monthly membership.

Send an email to trial@level.com.sg to arrange a time to drop in to take a look at the class!


Learn more about Olympic Weightlifting at Level’s Barbell Club

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