Highway Gardens resident Irene Alley was recently awarded first place at an international bodybuilding competition in Cyprus.
Alley won the World Fitness Federation (WFF) World Championships’ masters category on November 4.
“Winning the world championships was a dream come true for me. My whole life I knew I would be a world champion in one of the sports I tried,” said the 50-year-old bodybuilder.
Alley said when she was announced as the winner she could not believe it, as it felt unreal.
While she was growing up, Alley’s brother inspired her to start bodybuilding.
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“I saw how working out gave my brother confidence, energy and discipline. I wanted those traits when I was younger,” said Alley.
Alley said her brother used various household items to train.
Unlike her brother, Alley wanted to train properly. Soon after matriculating, she began training at a gym in Springs.
Alley began her professional bodybuilding career in 1995, and two years later she won her first South African national bodybuilding championship title.
Between 1995 and 2017, Alley won 16 SA championship titles.
Her most recent title was obtained in October this year.
“Today I am married to the best bodybuilding coach around, Vic Alley. He has supported me and he has been with me the whole journey.
“Without his support, things would have been difficult,” said Alley.
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Alley said the hardest part leading up to the world championships was dealing with the mental stress of dieting and training.
She often felt depleted and withdrawn from those around her.
Although Alley was training for the world championship, she continued to train clients at a local gym.
“The world doesn’t stop because you have a competition to train for. Luckily all of my clients were supportive and understood that I was under stress,” said Alley.
Alley said the best moment was when she was on stage with her husband and she had the South African flag over her shoulders.
“It was such an honour,” said Alley.
The next competition Alley hopes to conquer is the WFF’s universe bodybuilding competition.
It will be held in Singapore in 2018.
“I have achieved my dream of being a world champion,” said Alley.