I found my inner strength

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October 25, 2016
I found my inner strength

MENTOR: Paraplegic Lorenzo Williams, 53. CREDIT: Patrick Louw

Disabled ex-champ is bodybuilding coach.

He may no longer be able to lift weights himself, but that’s not stopping this former bodybuilding champ from helping others to reach for their dreams.

Bishop Lavis dad of four, Lorenzo Williams, 53, was one of Western Province’s best bodybuilders until an accident shattered his dreams in 1995.

While on his way to Durban to compete in the annual South African Bodybuilding Championship, the driver of the vehicle he was in lost control and they rolled, ending in a crash leaving Lorenzo paralysed from the neck down.

Lorenzo says his dream of becoming the best at his sport died that day. Up till then, he had won 34 competitions.

“It was the end of my bodybuilding days, I suffered to adjust to the loss, even today, 21 years later, it is still difficult to cope, but I can now use my hands a little,” he says.

Lorenzo says it took him a long time to realise he still has much to give to the world.

The paraplegic started his own bodybuilding gym in 2013 at Bishop Lavis High School.

His son, Clint Williams, 26, who is also a paraplegic, was the first to join. Clint is a former Western Province champ.

The club has since grown to 30 members, and Lorenzo says: “I coach them verbally, I have lost the physical ability but I still have the knowledge and with this I am building champions through my favourite sport.”

There’s also been some challenges having his gym on the school grounds. Lorenzo says they’ve had several break-ins, but this hasn’t broken his spirit.

“Last year someone broke in and stole equipment worth R3500. But my motto remains, ‘no pain, no gain’ so I know we will come out victorious. We keep pushing on and upwards, after all, we are heavy weightlifters,” he laughs.

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