She wants to make a mark in a man’s world and see her national flag fly high. The 45-year-old single mother from the Philippines, Erlina Pecante, is realising all her dreams through her passion — powerlifting.
Erlina is in India to compete in the Asian Bench Press Championship at Chandigarh. Day One at the meet saw her lift gold in the 90kg Masters (I) category. Her lift of 115 kg was the highest among all age groups in her weight category.
“Powerlifting is my passion. And, seeing my country’s flag fly high gives me immense satisfaction,” says Erlina. The journey so far has not been easy, though. In pursuit of her dreams, Erlina had to comprise on the personal front and even stand against the stereotype social mindset. Powerlifting was at the centre of her differences with her 19-year-old son Andrie Matias’s father. “Andrie’s father never liked my involvement in the sport. But, it’s my passion and I chose it,” says Erlina, a postmaster by profession.
“Like in India, single mother is a taboo in the Philippines too. But, I believe in making the most of what you get. As a mother, you want to provide the best to your child and raise it well,” she adds.
Like her mother, Andrie is also into powerlifting and has won a number medals in the sub-junior section at international level. “He is a very good lifter and has even won medals at the sub-junior,” said Erlina who holds the world record in the squats.