A Newtownabbey businesswoman has proved that lifting weights is ‘not just for men’ after winning gold at an international sporting event.
Kyla Mulholland, manager of The Den after school club in Greenisland, competed in the Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships in South Africa last month.
The 43-year-old mum of two first took up the sport six years ago when she was on the look-out for a new fitness challenge - and has loved it ever since.
“In September 2016 I started a new gym in Mallusk, ReForm, with my coach Marty Cummings who is also a competitive powerlifter,” said Kyla, who trained five days per week for the championships.
“Getting picked by the NIPF to represent Northern Ireland in an international competition was truly amazing and a great honour. A team of 21 lifters and four coaches went to South Africa on September 11. On September 16, I competed in the 84kg category against six other lifters.”
Kyla secured four gold medals in squat, bench, deadlift and overall total. She also set a new Northern Ireland record in deadlift, pulling 157.5kg.
“Words can’t describe how happy I was standing on the podium that day,” said Kyla, who was cheered on by her husband Noel and two children, Erynn and Ayden. “Northern Ireland as a team together brought home a total of 12 gold medals, 16 silver medals and 24 bronze. Our outstanding team ranged from lifters as young as Lee McCafferty who is only 15 years old to some of our masters, two lifters who are 50-plus.
“People think lifting weights is for men, but this is definitely not the case. Northern Ireland Powerlifting has very much a 50/50 ratio men to woman in this up and coming sport. It is empowering to all women to stand on a platform and shift heavy weights off the floor.
“I urge any one interested in the sport to come along to our next competition in The Valley Leisure Centre at 10am on November 4, 2017 and see what its all about.”