By MUTWIRI MUTUOTA
As overall Team Kenya deputy captain, Mercy Obiero left Jomo Kenyatta International Airport with the weight of an entire nation tucked in her travelling bags.
Carrying heavy weights thankfully is her forte as she prepares to represent her nation for the third time at the 19th Club Games that start in Delhi on Sunday.
The only female weightlifter in the 160-strong competitive line-up Kenya will offer teams from 70 other countries knows only too well she has to lead by example by hauling up her way to the podium.
"Nothing less than a medal will do it for me in Delhi. I have prepared myself well for these games and trained hard. Last time, I ended sixth and I have put the lessons I learned then into my training," she told FeverPitch before leaving for India. Deputy captain Mercy Obiero at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport before the Kenyan team left for New Delhi on Sunday. [PHOTO :STAFFORD ONDEGO/STANDARD]
Deputy captain Mercy Obiero at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport before the Kenyan team left for New Delhi on Sunday. [PHOTO :STAFFORD ONDEGO/STANDARD]
"The added responsibility of being deputy captain is another motivating factor to go for a good performance," the fitness instructor who has been in the sport for nine years said.
She recalled her maiden Commonwealth appearance in Manchester 2002 with a tinge of pain after she failed to elevate herself to get a result. "At the time, it was my first outing to an event that big. I was also new to the sport and when I went there, my body just packed and I could not lift anything."
scaling the heights
Four-years later in Australia, Obiero registered the performance that set her to believe it was only a matter of time before scaling the heights in her sport. "I was very close to the medals then in Melbourne. It made me realise I could measure up to the best and I told myself should I get another chance, I would be up there. Now, this is it."
Apart from individual and Team Kenya glory, Obiero is one of the so-called fringe sports exponents heading to Delhi hoping to elevate their discipline to the limelight by bagging glory.
"Winning a medal would raise the profile of weigh lifting, especially among women. It took my brothers who are weightlifters to get me to the sport and I find myself as the only woman actively competing in the country.
"Women should not take this to be a male-only sport since it also a means of staying health and in good fitness besides being a sport. Unfortunately, one has to have a good job here to be a weightlifter since facilities needed are not cheap," Obiero, who will participate in the 69kg category said.
Weightlifting tests ballistic limits (explosive strength) with smaller weights, such that the lifts must be executed faster and with more mobility, because of a greater range of motion during the lifts. However, parts of the lift, especially in the clean and jerk, do test for absolute strength, as power is not an issue in executing that part of the lift.
Competitors compete in one of eight (seven for women) divisions determined by their body mass. These classes in women are: 48 kg (106 lb), 53 kg (117 lb), 58 kg (128 lb), 63 kg (139 lb), 69 kg (152 lb), 75 kg (165 lb), and over 75 kg.