In an interview with www.ACLSports.com Olympic Gold medallist and World Record holder Bose Omolayo speaks on her journey into para power lifting, her achievements so far and expectation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“Prior to joining this sport I was a hairdresser. So coach Are who is the national team coach used to come to my shop in Kilo incessantly to encourage me to join the para power lifters at the National Stadium in Surulere that I had the physique to do it. So I told him I’d come but I didn’t go immediately. However after numerous visits to my shop I eventually decided to go to the stadium,” Omolayo began.
“When I got there I saw people like me lifting weights so I changed, got on the bench and gave it a try. I lifted the weight easily and another 40kg was added which I also lifted so I was surprised I was able to do that easily on my first day. But when I got home I had aches all over my body. However, I didn’t stop going so that I was how I started full training.
“I was still operating my shop whenever I returned from training but after sometime when I noticed I was going for tournaments and winning medals I discovered that there’s money in the sport so I stopped my hairdressing business and faced power lifting full time and through it God has blessed me.”
After 7 years of full time training and attending local tournaments, Bose Omolayo won her first international medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014. From then on, it’s been bliss for the 79kg women’s category para powerlifter.
She followed up her Commonwealth Silver medal with a Gold in Kazakhstan and another Gold at the Congo 2015 All Africa Games. But the best of them all came at the 2016 Rio Olympics where Omolayo stormed to Gold with a World Record 138kg lift in the 79kg women’s category. A record which she has now surpassed at the African Championship in Algiers 2018 where she won Gold after lifting 139.5kg in her fourth attempt.
Speaking on the challenges and how she’s been able to achieve this feat, Omolayo said “those in my category are very tough but with the training I have received from coach Are, I have been able to do well so much that they are now like paper weight for me and I’m not afraid to face anyone.” Adding that ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics “I expect to win again although I don’t know which medal in particular but that by the grace of God I will emerge victorious.”
Finally on what this sport means to her and has done for her and her colleagues she says “Some people cannot endure the training we go through here. They think the moment you come here the money begins to flow but it’s not like that. You have to train well and then make the team to attend local tournaments from there you could be chosen to represent a state and from there international tournaments would come calling so it is a gradual process.
“We have handwork we do asides power lifting but it’s not as profitable as power lifting. It is through this sport you get big money, meet dignitaries and even shake the President (laughs). So there is money in our sport and whatever money you get can be invested in a business. As we all are, a lot of us have our own houses and cars and we got all that through this sport,” she said.