Va­lerie flexes mus­cles

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - BRI­ANNA MOR­RIS-GRANT bri­anna.mor­ris-grant@news,com.au MORE PAN PACS GAMES AC­TION, P77

AS the old­est com­peti­tor in the Pan Pa­cific Mas­ters Games fit­ness chal­lenge, Va­lerie Sil­ver wants every­one to know one thing – she’s not a freak.

The 69-year-old from Lo­gan had no trou­ble out­shin­ing her op­po­si­tion in the in­tense weightlift­ing and agility chal­lenge.

Ms Sil­ver, a dancer for many years, wanted to do pow­er­lift­ing and heavy ex­er­cise when she was younger, but “just wasn’t al­lowed”.

“If you were a young woman you couldn’t go into the gym and do squats. You’d just get ‘oh, you right love’?” she said.

“But young women now are ex­pect­ing equal treat­ment in gyms so they get it, but there’s still some re­sis­tance for strength train­ing.”

Each week Ms Sil­ver drives to a Var­sity Lakes gym, where she does squats, dead­lift­ing, tyre flips and more be­fore head­ing to the ice baths and then her job as a cri­sis coun­sel­lor.

After the Pan Pa­cific Mas­ters Games come to a close she’ll com­pete in Bris­bane’s Strong­est Man and Woman, the Oceanic Cham­pi­onships and the Strong­man Trac­tor Pull Cham­pi­onships.

Fit­ness chal­lenge events at the Pan Pacs in­clude weightlift­ing drills, throw­ing a medicine ball and skip­ping.

“You shouldn’t be fo­cus­ing on my age be­cause it makes me into a freak, and maybe the peo­ple my age who don’t ex­er­cise are the freaks and I’m nor­mal,” Ms Sil­ver added.

“Be­cause if I can do it that means it can be done, and that means it’s nor­mal. Women’s bod­ies are in­trin­si­cally strong yet this world dic­tates what is ap­pro­pri­ate for women to be do­ing.

“Women say to me they don’t want mus­cles but mus­cles are the new sexy.”

Kim Setiu was an­other fit­ness fa­natic at yes­ter­day’s chal­lenge but she was con­tent to watch her hus­band Bill do the heavy lift­ing.

She livestreamed ev­ery one of his com­pe­ti­tions. The pair own Mana Strength and Con­di­tion­ing at Car­rara.

“Com­pet­ing’s not for me but I’m the num­ber one cheerer,” Ms Setiu said. “I love that feel­ing of get­ting ex­cited, get­ting nerves.

“I think I carry that part for him and then he goes out and does a good job.”

Mr Setiu said: “She’s been my big­gest fan since I used to play rugby a long time ago, so I al­ways lis­ten out for her voice in the back­ground.”

About 16,000 atheletes are com­pet­ing at the Pan Pac Games across the Gold Coast this week. They are joined by 20,000 fam­ily and friends. Com­pe­ti­tion fin­ished his week­end.

Pic­tures: TERTIUS PACKARD

Lo­gan’s Va­lerie Sil­ver, 69, at the Pan Pa­cific Mas­ters Games weightlift­ing and agility event at Car­rara yes­ter­day and (in­set) Kim and Bill Setiu.

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