*Nigeria has stronger men than me, opportunity is all they need
Fadesere Oluwatofunmi, better known with Nigerians as ‘Olu Heavy’, is Nigeria’s strongest man. He recently competed in the Arnold Classic Festival strongman competition in South Africa against 16 other strong men from all over the world. He is 27-years-old. He hails from Oyo State.
Speaking to www.gongnews.net he said, “my whole life has always revolved around sports. I was born into a sport-loving family. My father and uncles love football; My dad was a coach. I started lifting weights at home in 2006 and continued at Rowe Park, Yaba. I was also doing judo but because of my frame, I was introduced to power-lifting and I progressed from there, developing a passion for strong-man sport.
How he started the sport: I started training for a competition in 2013 and won the National Open Power-Lifting competition in Lagos in 2014. In April 2015, I was invited as a guest to an international competition. Now, I cannot imagine myself doing anything other than this. For now, there is no strongman competition in Nigeria in the real sense of it. So, I have to be travelling abroad for strongman competitions. The Arnold Classics was not my first competition outside Nigeria. I was named the strongest man in Nigeria by the Africa Strong Union.
He said for him to remain relevant in the sport, I have to stay hungry for international competitions and honours all time. I have my set goals, I want to keep training. I am not satisfied yet with my achievements. I want to push further.
On what helped him reach his current heights, he pointed at hard work, dieting, discipline. I have to be focused even when certain conditions in the country do not help matters. There would be factors that could distract you but once you are determined to actualise your vision, you have to keep pushing.
Asked what was his most challenging outing, the heavily built strongest man said, “the most challenging is the one in South Africa, the Arnold Classic Festival. It is one of the toughest competitions in the world for strongmen. It involved 16 strongest men from all over the world and I competed with some top athletes from countries like Poland, Australia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. I finished 8th.
With all the risks of the sport, he was asked if his parents are with him, he quipped, “I won’t be doing what I am doing now without their backing. I receive a lot of support from them through prayers, motivation and phone calls. These are the bedrock of my success so far. I am not saying I have reached the peak, but I can attribute what I have achieved so far to their prayers. I want other parents to do the same in supporting their children.
Nigeria maximising his sport. The man whose name means, God is enough for me added, “we have a lot of such individual sports. Most guys that do strong men sports start mostly from weightlifting and power lifting. Unfortunately, the system in Nigeria is not helping matters. There are no proper training facilities and modern equipment. Most of the equipment here are out-dated unlike what is obtainable outside the country. A challenge we are facing is that we don’t get attention like other sports do. There are a lot of strong guys out there on Nigerian streets, even stronger than me, but they don’t have the opportunity to come up. I am just lucky because I never gave up.
Ambition: I hope to be, soonest, a professional competing with the world’s strongest men. I have been fighting hard to get my pro card. I also have some guys I’m nurturing in the sport. My coach is a South African who trains me online. But I also have my fitness coach who is a Nigerian named Bamidele Ola, a weightlifter.
I need to get better and stronger and represent this great country in the topmost strongman competitions abroad. In the next few years, I want to be one of the top strongman athletes not only in Nigeria but in Africa and all over the world.
Government needs to take interest in other sports and not only football. Look at the Olympics and Commonwealth games where individual sports like weightlifting are bringing more laurels to countries than football. When I was growing up, Nigeria was one of the top weightlifting countries in the world, but countries like Egypt have overtaken us.
Training regime: Olu Heavy trains thrice on weekdays. On Saturdays, I do my special strongman training in the Shomolu area of Lagos where I pick stones and other heavy objects of up to 150kilogrammes. That training is quite different from the gym stuff. I eat six times a day, from 7am, at intervals of three hours. I take a lot of proteins and foods that have micro-nutrients. l don’t eat anyhow,” said the man whose weight presently is 152kilogrammes.