News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Tuesday August 20th 2019

Woman lifts 70 tons for township gym

Liesl Schoonraad doing 70 tons of calf presses as part of her contribution to Mandela Day, for which Virgin Active donated modern Gym equipment to the Strong Bones gym in Enkanini informal settlement in Khayelitsha. Photo: Peter Luhanga.


A gym in a Cape Town squatter camp gym will benefit from modern gym equipment after Mzantsi’s woman of steel Liesl Schoonraad used her calf muscles to lift 70 tons in under 67 minutes as part of her Mandela Day charity initiative.

Schoonraad was also the first woman in the world to pull a Dakota airplane.

The modern gym equipment, pledged by Virgin Active gyms, will be donated to Strong Bones Gym operating from a makeshift shack situated in Khayelitsha’s eNkanini informal settlement.

Strong Bones is affiliated to Guts2Glory — a non-profit organization supporting disabled and underprivileged athletes.

Schoonraad lifted the 70 tons of weight in 37 minutes as opposed to 67 minutes.

“It’s a feat not attempted before. The human body can only lift so much before it fails or breaks,” Schoonraad said after successfully attempting the first weightlifting attempt of its kind.

Strong Bones gym owner Bongisane Sidodile, 44, said his gym kept young people away from the temptations of crime and anti-social behavior in the impoverished area. The gym was popular in the squatter camp, particularly among women wanting to lose weight.

However, it lacked modern gym equipment and Virgin Active’s donation came at just the right time, he said.

Guts2Glory founder Lee Wyser said Schoonraad and Virgin Active have helped the organisation realize the dream of helping Sidodile’s gym and youth of Khayelitsha get rid of crime and live healthy lives in kasi.

“Schoonraad is a powerful woman with a huge heart,” she said.

“We are very happy. We are jumping up down celebrating the equipment,” said Sidodile. — Peter Luhanga



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