“I have been a hairdresser and it still continues [to be] my passion. I love fashion and can do several types of hair styles. But powerlifting gave a new meaning to my life."
In one corner of the Congress Centre in Nur-Sultan, Bose Omolayo was busy braiding the hair of one of her fellow Nigerian powerlifters. She was excited.
This is one thing that has always made her happy. Something she has done since years before she took up Para powerlifting.
“I have been a hairdresser and it still continues [to be] my passion. I love fashion and can do several types of hair styles like braiding, weaving, twinning and fixing etc. This is what I have done all my life,” Omolayo said.
“But powerlifting gave a new meaning to my life. Now people recognise me back home. They also want to be like me. This makes me proud,” she added.
In Kazakhstan for the World Championships, the Nigerian found more reasons to be proud as she took the women’s up to 79kg gold medal with an impressive lift of 142kg.
The 30-year-old from Igbuzor admitted that she barely knew about powerlifting before she met her now coach Feyisetan Are in 2012, at her salon in Seme.
“The coach said, ‘You are very strong and brave, you should come and do powerlifting’. That day changed my life,” said the mother-of-three.
According to coach Are, it still took Omolayo a long time to decide on powerlifting as the job as hairdresser was the way to feed her family.
But once she decided to focus on the sport, there was no looking back.
It started with the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medal followed by the Rio 2016 Paralympic gold and the first world title in Nur-Sultan this month.
“She listens to every detail of what I tell her to do in training, competition etc. She is also very brave and disciplined,” Are explained.
Omolayo now sets her eyes on more gold. In every competition but especially at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
“The journey has been good so far. Now I want to defend my titles, and enhance my legacy,” she said.
Her powerlifting success has also given Omolayo the possibility to invest more time and effort on her other passion.
“The money, cash prizes I earn from Powerlifting, I invest in my salon. I hope one day I have a bigger and better salon,” added the red-haired lifter whose eyes were rimmed with blue shadow.
“It’s all God’s miracle and his blessings that I am living a dream. From nobody, I have become somebody.”