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Malagasy weightlifter Rosina Randafiarison, a champion with all-consuming ambition

Don’t be fooled by its small size and wasp waist. Behind her 1.46m and 45 kilos hides a giantess with biceps of steel, who clearly hasn’t stopped making people talk about her. Rosina Randafiarison, a 23-year-old Malagasy weightlifter, achieved the exceptional in the space of ten days: three gold medals won at the end of August at the Indian Ocean Games, and a title of vice-world champion (at the snatch, clean and jerk and Olympic total) pocketed in early September in Saudi Arabia. RFI went to meet him, in Antananarivo, during his week off.

Published on: 09/10/2023 – 22:29

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From our correspondent in Antananarivo

With a bouncy gait, Rosina Radafiarison takes us to the back of the gym for more privacy, she says. The young woman with the infectious smile does not flare up. However, his record in his category – those under 45 kilos – could make more than one person proud. The weightlifter is a six-time African champion, current African record holder, and to complete it all, this brilliant performance during the World Championships held in September in Saudi Arabia:

« I have been vice-world champion for a few weeks in clean and jerk and snatch. The snatch consists of taking the dumbbell from the ground and lifting it in the air, above your head. The clean and jerk is a two-step movement: you lift the dumbbell at shoulder level to place it under your chin, arms bent, then you suddenly lift one leg above your head in front, one leg behind. »

Rosina started lifting cast iron at the age of 15, somewhat by chance. In his hometown, in Majunga, his father told him about a gym where young people train. Weightlifting? She doesn’t know what it is. But the place and the atmosphere attract him. She decides to register. She took part in competitions and, very quickly, the first results came in: she was talented. Rosina then moved to Tana, in the capital, to continue training and join the national team.

« I train twice a day at home, following the coach’s program, but I am limited in weight. So what I can’t do at home, I do here, in this room. At the moment there is no specific gym for the national weightlifting team, so everyone attends the gym that suits them “, she explains.

Six months to be ready for Paris 2024

And this room, precisely, the Arena Fitness, Rosina feels good there. Patrick, a regular, calls out to him: “ Congratulations Madam! I was very happy to see you, to see the gold medal first, at the Indian Ocean Games, I was proud. And afterwards, I realized that you were vice-world champion. But that’s an achievement! That means that in the whole world, you are second, it’s an achievement! This is to be congratulated! I hope you go beyond! Given her size and weight, we wouldn’t imagine that she can lift up to twice her weight! And she did it, she was able to lift 100 kilos. I was amazed! »

Rosina drew this feat from deep within herself. Because she has come a long way, she admits: “ I experienced the worst in 2022. It was the first time in my life that I failed in all competitions. It devastated me. At one point, I said to myself ‘I’m giving up everything’, but the president of the Federation helped me. He cheered me up. He told me ”You can do it, you are strong”. So, I used all my strength to bounce back and I won again. »

More motivated than ever after this freshly won title, the athlete set herself a new goal: “ Participate in the Paris Olympic Games. I already dream of having an Olympic medal. » However, at the Olympics, its under 45 kilo category does not exist. The minimum for women is set at 49 kilos. “ So I have to train and gain mass, to then gain points in this category. And this is where the war begins! »

Rosina returned to training on Monday October 9. The communications student has six months to gain weight and rehabilitate her muscles in order to make the Big Island vibrate again on the international sports scene.

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