ZIMBABWE power-lifter, Chido Maenzanise, who recently won a bronze medal at the African Strongman Championship, is now dreaming of competing in the World Strongman competition in the United States next month.
She won bronze in a competition which ran from last Friday to Sunday.
Maenzanise trains in power-lifting and strength wars and challenges, and can lift up to 350kgs of weights at once.
She trains for three hours every day, increasing to five hours when competition is imminent.
Despite facing criticism and insults for being a female strongwoman, Maenzanise has won several gold medals, and hopes to find sponsorship to allow her to compete in the US.
“In Zim, we only have powerlifting and strength wars and challenges and my coach said if I can do all these three activities, it means I have a chance to be in Strongman.
“There is not much of a difference because it’s all about carrying heavy weights.
“I eat chiripo panguva iyoyo because in Zim there is no sponsorship.
“If I get sponsorship, I will have proper meals for my sport.”
She has had to contend with negativity directed at her for pursuing powerlifting.
“People talk and say no one will marry me if I do this and others say I walk and act like a man.
“At first, this used to affect me, but I was advised not to let that deter my dream.
“I was told kuti anebhora ndiye anomakwa so kana uchitotaurwa mumaraini ndiwe une chimuti.
“It’s surprising that those same people, who were despising me, are now praising me,” she said.
Maenzanise said she was inspired to lift weights when she was still at school.
“When I was at school, people called me chivhindikiti and I hated that word because I didn’t know the meaning.
“But, as I grew older, I started to understand the meaning and decided to take advantage of it by lifting weights.”
Her journey began in 2016.
“I started jogging and one day I bumped into a man called Bla Ganza who introduced me to the Health and Fitness Club.
“I enjoyed aerobics and became one of the instructors.
“However, in 2021, I joined local gym Black Moses Academy and they saw potential in me being a national powerlifter. I was insulted by the huge weight lifters on the very first day and I quit the gym until 2022. Black Moses later introduced me to coach Nyasha who then encouraged me not to give up.
“I trained powerlifting for only four months and went to the national powerlifting event and won a gold medal. I have gone on to win six gold medals.”