Alethea Borman is looking forward to her second Arnold Classics competition next week when she hopes to reach the podium again, just as she did two years ago.
Arguably the country's foremost female bodybuilder, the 38-year-old mother of three is keen to impress at the event, which runs from 17 to 20 May at Sandton in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Arnold Classic Africa features professional bodybuilding and related contests, amateur bodybuilding, strength and combat sports, a large health and fitness expo as well as youth events.
"I placed second at the Arnolds in 2016, becoming the first Namibian ever to win a medal at an international bodybuilding event," she tells The Namibian Sport proudly.
She earned her Arnold Classics Africa 2018 ticket through the IFFB world championships held in Paris, France at the start of December last year when she placed 13th overall.
"In August 2017, I participated at the Western Province championships, where I won my line-up and got permission for IFBB Africa and IFBB International to partake in the IFBB world championships in Biarritz, Paris," explained Borman.
A passionate athlete, her ambition goes beyond a podium finish at one of the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) main events next week.
"My dream has been, since I was young, to become the first IFBB Pro elite athlete representing Namibia. So, this means to become the first professional bodybuilder representing my country, and secondly, my aim is to encourage women to look after their health," Borman noted.
"I'm a legal adviser, a mother of three children, married for nearly 16 years, but I find time to look after my body. It does take a lot out of you sometimes, but we women need to take care of ourselves too."
She derives her inspiration and desire to see others prosper from her close-knit family, who always have her back.
"My family, the Borman/Oppermans, are without doubt my number one fans. They have been supporting me since I was just 14 years old. I took part in my first bodybuilding event in 1994 at Mr Namibia Body Building. I was hooked since then," she enthuses.
"My husband is my constant friend, and always by my side. I am blessed to have these guys as my support. They are never negative, perhaps honest, but never negative about my sport."
Borman is hopeful that that support extends to the business community, whom she needs to help cover her costs for the Arnolds.
"I am training at Eight Plates' gym at Swakopmund, and still am not a sponsored athlete. Air Namibia have indicated they will sponsor my airfare to the Arnolds. I only have to pay airport taxes. I am very happy for that," said the Rehoboth native.
"I still need to pay for my accommodation, which is N$5 400 in total. In future, Id' like a sponsor that would support my every show I do. I normally compete about once a year internationally, so it's really costly," she explained.
"For the world champs, I had my friends, family, and Swakop Uranium and Eight Plates, who sponsored me to compete. All additional costs were paid by myself. But I must say, I realise I have a lot of friends because the world champs was very expensive, but my friends came through. I am truly blessed," said Borman.
Since her debut international competition was the IFBB Amateur Olympics in 2014, where she finished fourth, Borman has inched closer to fulfilling a lifelong dream of becoming a professional bodybuilder.
"Beyond Arnolds, I am hoping to get my pro card. If I do, I have to rest my body until next year to ensure I go for my first show well-conditioned," she added.
"I have been dieting since July 2017. I train two times daily from Monday to Friday, and Saturdays only once. So, by now, my body is tired, and I need to rest. It's been a hard year. But thanks to Eight Plates gym, where I train for free. They are really encouraging and supportive.