Injury catapults Tomu to bikini stardom

As a marathon runner, Lynnette Tomu has always mastered the art of going through the pain barrier to achieve her goals. 

Over the course of her athletics career, Tomu has suffered her fair share of injuries. 

In a bid to broaden her horizons and not focus on marathon alone, the runner, who turns 26 this Tuesday, decided to focus on fitness and bodybuilding. 

“I had briefly left athletics because of a knee injury on my left leg. I had to stop running from May last year and I decided to go to the gym, that’s how I started taking bodybuilding and fitness seriously,” she told the Daily News on Sunday. 

“I started training very hard and decided to go to a fitness school because I wanted to get more knowledge on injuries.”

Although she embarked on her fitness journey in 2016, Tomu’s first competition was the recently-held GS Classic Muscle and Fitness Expo at Harare’s High Glen Shopping Mall. 

She participated in the women bikini bodybuilding and fitness section where she claimed first prize. 

Tomu brought on stage a well-toned body that won her gold medal on debut in uncharted waters. 

“The competition was really difficult because I was only doing this for the first time,” she said. 

“People were so excited to see someone wearing a bikini; you know how it is locally, it’s not something that people deem to be normal to see a lady dressed the way we do on stage.”

Following her commendable debut on stage, Tomu is motivated to pursue bodybuilding for the long term but cognisant of the fact that she will not be persuaded to dump her first love — athletics.

“I’m a physical and fitness trainer at Fitness For Her Gym at High Glen Mall,” she said.

“The gym is only for ladies. My affection for fitness business started in 2016 and I have been based in Bulawayo for the past three years. “I moved from Bulawayo to Harare so that I can get more knowledge which has also seen me competing in the ladies bikini for the first time in my life.

“I am at loss for words for winning this championship

“I wasn’t prepared for this but I will enjoy the moment while it lasts. 

“This has, however, motivated me to take bikini fitness seriously and I am now looking forward to competing at the Novice Championship at the end of this month.”

Tomu says adapting to life in the gym has not been difficult considering her athletics background.

“It’s not really different, all you have to know when you are in the gym is the exercises that you have to do as an athlete,” she said. 

“Aerobics is part of our exercises; I do classes they help a great deal.”

Tomu was born in an athletic family hence her passion for sport. 

Her mother, Ratidzo, 45, regularly competes in wheelchair races across the country. 

Just last year, the mother and daughter combination smiled all the way to podium finishes both settling for third place in their respective 21km wheelchair racing and 21km senior women event at the inaugural National Railways of Zimbabwe Rail-Trail Charity Half Marathon in Bulawayo. 

Other races Tomu has won include the PPC, Bonaqua and JM Busha Peace Marathons. 

“My mother is an athlete, she is into wheelchair racing so we train together, we run together and she supports me all the way,” she said. 

“It is every child’s dream to lead a successful life and being crowned champions on the same race with my mother is an experience I will always cherish for longer periods.

“I wish we could keep on winning and raise the mother, daughter affair to greater heights.”

The bond between Tomu and her mother is very strong. 

“Mom runs in her wheelchair, I run on foot. I love my mother and she loves me a lot… she encourages me in everything that I do in my life,” she said. 

Besides athletics and bodybuilding, Tomu has a lot on her plate as she is studying as well. 

“I’m doing a course at Lupane State University and will be writing my exams in July,” she said.

“But before that, I will be racing in the PPC Marathon in April and I’m promising fireworks because I will be fully fit.” 

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