BO THONGVILU started doing competitive weight lifting 18 months ago in his mid-50s, but despite this will later this year will attend the 2018 World Masters Weightlifting Championship.
Thongvilu is 56, and lived in McGraths Hill for a number of years, and trains six times a week in South Windsor.
Thongvilu will compete in the 55-59 age group, in the 69-kilogram class, and will be aiming to beat his recently set personal best lift of 142-kilograms.
Thongvilu will have to perform a snatch as well as a clean and jerk, and then add the weight of the two lifts when he competes later this year.
Thongvilu said in his younger days he did some weight lifting, but never competitive and gave it away in his late 20s as he focused on work.
He is making up for all those years spent working, having a family and enjoying life.
He said he originally got back into working out, because his wife Karen, was also doing it.
“I was about to go to size 32 to 34. I was thinking my pants were a bit tight,” he said.
Thongvilu said he had been leading a fairly sedentary life, and eating out a lot with family and friends, but since getting into competitive weight lifting, he has dramatically overhauled how he treats his body.
“I'm back down to normal, and I'm all about getting healthy and fit and not just sitting on the couch,” he said.
“The key is to train hard and stay away from injuries, and just making sure I’m eating clean.”
It is a good thing too. He is up against some tough competition when he visits Barcelona.
“It is quite phenomenal, there are some of the masters who are ex-Olympian lifters and then there is me who gave up weight lifting nearly 30 years ago,” he said.
Thongvilu said he trained six days a week for about two hours. Because he had not weight lifted all his life, he needed to make sure he trained his muscles accordingly.
“I am older and things are not automatic. You need to put the muscle through its paces. My muscles don't react as fast as they used to,” he said.
While he is excited to compete, for Thongvilu, who has worked in the telecommunications sector doing IT for 27 years, the chance to travel is what is truly calling him to compete on the world stage.
He wants a holiday but with a purpose, he told the Gazette.
“I like travel,” he said. “I went to Singapore open masters last February. For me the goal is to travel the world and have a reason to do it rather than just go and lay around.”