Meet Sara Soto Guzman from Caracas, Venezuela, who has lived in Bangkok Thailand for 18 years. As a member of the TPF (Thai Powerlifting Federation) she went all the way to Halmstad in Sweden, to represent Thailand in The World Classic Championship in Powerlifting.
Sara was born in Caracas in 1966. After her university graduation, she worked for a few years in her home country before moving abroad. “I have always had a passion for fitness and exercise, it has always been my lifestyle and I can’t tell how many hours I have spent in gyms and still do”, Sara says.
Sara is married to Cesar, who she met in Miami airport by accident. Cesar is Puerto Rican and works in the airport industry specializing in integration of special systems. In 2002, her husband received a job offer in Bangkok as a consultant for Suvarnabhumi Airport and the family moved to Bangkok.
“I have always been a very active woman and I have played golf, tried kickboxing, but I found that my real passion was, and is, lifting heavy weights.” This is hard to believe when you see this 163 cm tall and 63 kilos slim woman with a cascade of blond hair.
In 2018, Sara decided to start training specifically for powerlifting. To get the right feeling for this sport she first attended a competition as a spectator, and what she saw inspired her, and she was hooked. Sara decided to join the TPF (Thai Powerlifting Federation) and soon after she attended her first local competition. Surprisingly, she managed so well that she broke a number of national records in her category. She went on to compete and achieved great success by obtaining an unofficial world record at a local competition in Thailand. She has been training 5 days a week and this year she had the opportunity to compete at the highest level of the sport and went to Sweden from September 23rd to October 3rd to attend the World’s Classic Championship in the city of Halmstad.
She competes in the category of under 63 kilos Master 2. She represented Thailand very well and is the first ever lifter representing Thailand to secure a gold medal at the World Classic Championships. In a very competitive division she secured a podium position and received a Gold medal for Deadlift and a Bronze medal for overall.
“I felt so honored and I was proud of myself. Now I will continue to develop myself as an athlete and attend many more competitions,” Sara says.
Sara has time to practice, as both her husband and daughter are working in Qatar for the time being. She let me know that it was not an easy experience to travel to Sweden in the current situation as there were many restrictions on travel due to the pandemic. She went to attend the competition along with her Irish coach, who is the head coach for the Thailand National Team.
I understood during our talk that it is hard to find sponsors for this sport in Thailand. “If I could find one or more sponsors, I could compete more often and make Thailand proud”, Sara says with a smile. “It wouldn’t be fair of me to always rely on my husband”, she adds.
The Thai Powerlifting Federation (TPF) is the official governing body for the sport of Powerlifting in Thailand. The Federation was established in 2018 with the aim to attract and develop the best powerlifters in Thailand by providing them with excellent competitions, internationally accredited coaching and the opportunity to compete against the best lifters in the world. The first competition took place on October 6th in 2018 and is still quite new but developing fast. The goal is to grow this sport throughout Thailand and also help other member nations in Southeast Asia to grow.
Let us, in the future, keep our fingers crossed for Sara, the Venezuelan Champion who is longing for sponsorship and more medals!