The Ministry of Youth and Sport has recognized a diaspora Liberian female body builder for winning three medals in Canada.
Sophia Johnson won second place two times in the wellness category and second place in fitness model from the Ultimate Fitness Events (UFE) in Canada, where she stays.
UFE is a tournament that allows individuals to showcase their outstanding successes in bodybuilding and fitness.
It is a journey that pushes physical and mental boundaries, and the thrill competitors experience on stage after overcoming their obstacles is worth it.
Ms. Johnson was congratulated for the medals by Deputy Sports Minister G. Andy Quamie, who also said that the government would keep in touch with her so other Liberians could assist her. “We want to express our gratitude for your presence in Canada while flying the Liberian flag and for returning to deliver the medals you have achieved. Most Liberians left the country in search of brighter pastures and never returned.”
In May 2022, she won the second place in wellness out of 28 ladies, after placing 11th out of 36 in 2019. Ms. Johnson, a mother of five, runs the Susufit Hope Foundation that provides scholarships to students in rural areas in Liberia.
“I got into body building in 2019. I saw that Kenyans and Ghanaians have a lot of female bodybuilders but Liberia doesn’t have one, so I said to myself why can’t I present Liberia,” said Johnson.
She added that, “Anything you put your mind to, you can do it. If you say you want to do this because you want to present country, you have to put your mind to it. That’s what I did. From 2019, I did not win any medals but I was not discouraged until this year.”
“My federation is natural. People often associate using drugs with body building, but we don’t because we have to submit to drug tests before competing. If we test positive, we will be disqualified. I went for my first competition after COVID-19, and I came second in Wellness. I entered three different categories but I won wellness. I have one for wellness, one for fitness and one for fitness model. Everything was for Liberia because I went and represented Liberia,” Johnson said.
“I have five children. I have to do school work. I work mostly 12 to 16 hours per day. I have taken care of my kids, I have to drop my kids to school and I also have to work out. I have to cook the food I have to eat. I can't eat [just] any food.”
Ms. Johnson was accompanied by students of her foundation and the Charles Attackay Gbelia Foundation and presented the medals to the government.
According to the bodybuilder, when she first started representing Liberia, people asked if she was from America because of the flag. But due to her constantly reminding them that she is a Liberian, that mindset has changed.
“I had to correct them by saying that I am not an American. Therefore, when I am on stage, you should say a girl from Liberia’. It’s an honor to be here. I am committed to doing more to help Liberia win more medals.”