UCSD senior lifting his dreams

    UCSD senior Phillip Truong had a vision and set a goal for himself in high school. Since that point, he has been working virtually every day toward accomplishing his goal. One day, Truong hopes he will go “”all the way”” and will qualify for the Olympic weightlifting events.

    Courtesy of Phillip Truong

    Truong began strengthening in high school to improve his basketball game. When the basketball season ended, his coach in Van Nuys, Calif., saw talent in Truong and asked him to continue weightlifting and compete.

    His coach was right — Truong does have talent in the sport. At the Junior Nationals in 1999, Truong finished in fifth place; the athlete who took first place competed in the Olympics. As a junior, Truong was nationally ranked 23rd in his weight class from a pool of over 300 lifters.

    Olympic weightlifting includes two events. The snatch, the first of the two lifts performed in all Olympic weightlifting competitions, is a technique in which the lifter takes a wide grip on a barbell and attempts to raise it above his head. In the clean and jerk, the second of the two events, the lifter lifts the barbell to his shoulders and, after a pause, above his head.

    Courtesy of Phillip Truong

    Truong is capable of lifting 120 kilograms in the snatch and about 150 kilograms in the clean and jerk. The lifter to win the last Olympic weightlifting competition in Truong’s same weight class accomplished 160 kilograms in the snatch and 187 kilograms in the clean and jerk.

    With his training technique, which he hones in the weight room at RIMAC six days a week for about three hours a day, Truong believes he can improve to lift 10 more kilograms per year in each technique. However, keeping up with the studying for his psychology major prevents Truong from carrying out his ideal training regimen.

    “”I’m beating up my body,”” he said. “”Lifting at the weight room and then studying, I rarely sleep before 2 a.m. That’s not good for any kind of athlete.””

    Injuries have also slowed the pace of Truong’s progress. He is currently hindered by wrist and back injuries, which he sustained in training.

    Truong emphasizes that weightlifting should be used as a means of training for all sports.

    “”Weightlifting has always been misconstrued for body building or power lifting,”” Truong said. “”They differ in that both do not involve any type of overt skill.

    “”With weightlifting, you need speed, agility, flexibility and overall athleticism. With weightlifting, there is maximal output from the nervous system as well as the muscular system, whereas the other two are minimal. I could go on and on about the importance of weightlifting as a part of training for all sports.””

    Truong plans to continue with his workout routine throughout his final year at UCSD in order to qualify for the next national competition. After graduating next June, this Olympic hopeful will go back and train with his coach, after which he would like to work out at the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs.

    “”I would like to train there with other Olympians and then hopefully go all the way,”” Truong said.

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