African Arnolds 2019 - Powerlifting Athlete Highlights & Project Impact

Lift4Life has been hard at work turning dreams into reality, and spreading the power of powerlifting.

From May 16 - 19th Audrey, Juliet, Tino, & Mr Molife from our Zimbabwe Lift4Life gyms headed to South Africa for a weekend full of fun and lifting at the African Arnolds. It was an incredible journey and experience for them all, and it was extra magical for youth lifters Tino and Juliet as it was their first meet.

The goal of the project was to send 2 youth athletes in order to build positive role models, and build the coaches and leaders tomorrow of the communities - both in and out of the gym. Coach Audrey wrote an entire blog here on the importance of investing in the Zimbabwean youth and the positive impact Lift4Life powerlifting is having in their lives.

Thanks to generous donations and support from around the world, the project was a huge success and life changing.

The weekend started off with an early flight departing Harare. It was the youth lifter’s first time on a plane, which meant some extra excitement and nerves. They arrived safely in Johannesburg where they were welcomed by the South African powerlifting community for some training, confidence building, and they were gifted with beautiful meet care packages.

Our lifters upon their arrival in South Africa - training and receiving their care packages.

Our lifters upon their arrival in South Africa - training and receiving their care packages.

Juliet was the first lifter to compete, and had a very impressive first meet including a silver medal. Juliet is 16 years old from the community of Epworth, Harare, who's dream was to take the powerlifting stage and show the world that age or gender is never a barrier to what we can achieve. Juliet went 9/9 hitting all her lifts finishing with a 77.5kg squat, 37.5kg bench,  and a massive 95kg deadlift at 56kg bw.

A very special aspect of the project was sending Mr Molife, Juliet’s father to the Arnolds as well. He was brought to tears witnessing his daughter so empowered, and we are excited to share more with you the impact of the experience for him through the testimonial recording below. For change to truly happen, it take men and women working together and fathers supporting their daughters in their dreams. Lift4Life is dedicated to a whole community approach to women empowerment and breaking stereotypes.

Audrey was the next to compete, going 9/9 with a 4th place finish. She had a flying squat of 97.5kg, bench of 67.5kg and deadlift of 122.5kg for a huge PR at 71.15kg bw. Audrey is a single mother leading the way for women everywhere and becoming an incredible role model - age, gender, race, and economic status is no barrier to what we can achieve in lifting & life and Audrey is a testament of that. You can read more about Audrey’s passion for powerlifting in a past blog she wrote here.

Our 21-year-old youth lifter Tinotenda (Tino) competed the following day, Saturday May 18th. This strong young man had a huge 9/9 day for his first meet, finished 5th in the mens middle weight category. Tino trains out of the Lift4Life Glen Norah gym in Zimbabwe, and he squatted 155kgs, benched 107.5kg, and deadlifted 170kg at 71kg bw.

Tino has a powerful story about how powerlifting has changed his life, including providing him friendship and community, bettering his health, and getting him out of troubled times & his past of being “a bad guy” as he tells us. "My main aim is to take powerlifting to every corner of Zimbabwe and other countries as well targeting the disadvantaged ones, only to make sure powerlifting lives on and everyone can benefit. After the experience on powerlifting ,all I wish is to coach others so that powerlifting will go beyond"

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A big highlight of the trip was the athletes sharing the platform and getting some selfie smiles with Arnold Schwarzenegger .

Thank you to everyone that has donated, shared words of wisdom and encouragement for our lifters, and provided a helping hand to ensure this project was a success from the start. A special shoutout to Jason Tremblay from The Strength Guys as well as Matt Holden for their coaching. Antoinette, Andrew, Marion, and Pia from the South African community as well as Chris from BBC Africa for some epic photos.

Our lifters are safe back in Harare and resting up, but the impact and excitement is just beginning! Juliet was interviewed this past week and will be featured in the upcoming news paper in the sports section - an incredible advancement for females in sport. Furthermore, a special ceremony is being organized in Harare recognizing her accomplishments . Tino and Audrey are back to training in Glen Norah already, and through workshops this week have been mentoring and teaching their fellow lifters with the knowledge they gained at the meet. Mr Molife is incredibly proud of his daughter, and using the experience to inspire other fathers and encourage other female lifters in the community.

Below is a special video of thanks from our lifters. Be sure to follow along on our facebook page and instagram @lift4life_worldwide for continuous updates on the impact of this project and beyond.

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