Kenya's strongest woman, Winnie Okoth recently spoke to Wabosha Maxine. The fitness coach and accomplished weightlifter started out by confessing that she was naive' as an 18-year-old and didn't know anything.
Since then, she has been able to become a force to reckon with in the fitness and weightlifting industry through trial and error.
"How did it feel for her to be the fittest and strongest woman?" Wabosha asked. "To be honest, let me be very polite. It feels really great to accomplish that. I am very proud. One of the reasons I want for women is that they should be able to lift weights and still look like a woman."
She added, "I also want to influence young people to live healthier lifestyles and to see this as a career.
So far she has been able to get two medals in the discipline. She said that she had faced many challenges in the weightlifting industry, with the most common one being finances to train and compete.
"It is very challenging especially without the government's support or federation. I would leave from Roysambu to Kitengela every day when I was training for the Tokyo Olympics qualifiers. It is financially tough especially when one doesn't have any support."
She even gave an example of a time in Australia when she and her team were kicked out of the hotel they were staying in.
"We were kicked out of a 5-star hotel and were put up in a motel where there was no food. I cried as we had to make our own strong tea. This was after the competition. We stayed there 3 days after the competition because of travel issues."
But Kenyans have come through in the past for her with crowd-funding ventures, something that helped her compete in S.A and Egypt.
Despite the challenges, was there any money to be made doing weightlifting? "Yes, there is. It is during the big events that happen every two or three years. Another way is coaching."
And can one live through coaching? "Yes, you can. I even bought my first car with that.
Had she had any major injuries? "Yes, with my back. I injured my back. I was out for about 3 months. My back is good right now. I have the knowledge now and I am helping people now on how to manage."
Now that she was pregnant, was she still training? If she feels o.k, she does, if she doesn't, she will not do it. After she gives birth, she plans to go work harder so she can go to the next Olympics.
Was there pressure to snap back faster because she is in fitness industry? "Yes, there is but I am already planning for it and I will ease into it."
Her future ambition is to become the best coach in East Africa and help other fitness trainers become the best they can be.
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