Powerlifter Daniella Means hit with 12-month ban and relocates to the United States – ‘It meant a lot to represent Hong Kong’
The 28-year-old is punished for competing in an unsanctioned competition just months after disagreement with the sport’s governing body
Asian powerlifting champion Daniella Means is keen to focus on her new life in the United States after receiving a 12-month ban from the Hong Kong Weightlifting and Powerlifting Association [HKWPA] for competing in an unsanctioned competition.
Means, along with fellow Hong Kong powerlifter Tyler Man Ka-tsun, competed in the Asia-Pacific Challenge in Australia in April.
The event was organised by Powerlifting Australia, which is not a member of the International Powerlifting Federation, meaning the pair infringed on the HKWPA’s rules.
Means says she was aware that she could face a ban but, after missing out on the World Classic Powerlifting Championships in Calgary, she was eager to compete.
“I knew there was potential for them to get angry about it and decide to suspend me but at the end of the day, I knew that I would be leaving Hong Kong for work,” said the 28-year-old.
“Powerlifting Australia had heard about my issues and they decided to invite me over, which was fantastic. At the end of the day, it was just like ‘right, let’s just go for it’ and I won.
“My training had been geared towards competing at the Calgary Worlds, which then got taken away, so having the opportunity to compete in Australia was great.”
Means was at loggerheads with the HKWPA after saying they first agreed to let her compete in Calgary in June before reneging, a claim the association vehemently denies.
Means, who took out the under-63kg category and best overall female in Australia, says her recent move to Los Angeles to manage a gym had nothing to do with her initial disagreement with the association or the possibility of a suspension.
— Dani Means (@daniellameans) February 11, 2018
She and Man were suspended after an independent panel recommended a one-year ban, a punishment HKWPA chairperson Josephine Ip Wing-yuk says is “compliant with IPF rules and regulations”.
“Hong Kong will always be home, I was born there and raised there,” Means said. “It meant a lot to me to represent Hong Kong officially since I did that in rugby sevens and to do that in powerlifting was huge for me. I wish it didn’t come to this with the association.”
Means is keen to continue powerlifting once she has settled into her new job and won’t rule out an eventual return to Hong Kong and the HKWPA.
“Never say never, I’m an athlete that wants to compete and they have decided to suspend me for 12 months,” she said.
“It’s not a crazy long period of time but they have told me I will need to reapply for membership, so it’s not even guaranteed that I will be able to get membership with them again.
“Recently a new world federation has been set up called World Powerlifting and I’ll be competing in that.
“Now it is just about wanting to compete. There are already things in the pipeline that I’m training towards and I haven’t had that knowledge with the HKWPA.”