Lolene Lawrence, First Ever Female Chairperson of the WPNBBU with her predecessor Hoosain Bester
Image Supplied
For the first time in its 70 year history the Western Province Natural Bodybuilding Union (WPNBBU) is under the leadership of a woman. Lolene Lawrence is also the youngest chairperson ever to head up the WPNBBU.

Lolene is no newcomer to the administration of Natural Body Building. She has for a number of years been the Chief Judge of the WP Union ensuring that provincial competitions are run to the highest international standards.
Lolene has also for a year served as the Interim Chairperson of the WPNBBU in 2020.

When the previous WPNBBU Chairperson Mr Hoosain Bester retired in 2018, the position became vacant and the first Interim Chairperson Nicholas Pugin served in 2019 after which Lolene Lawrence took over and served out the rest of Mr Bester's term.

Lolene was elected as chairperson at the WPNBBU 2021 AGM earlier this year.
"Near the end of March I was officially voted into the chairperson position by the clubs and by the WP members of our union and that is such a huge honour for me."

Lolene Lawrence, First Ever Female Chairperson of the WPNBBU

We wanted to know how Lolene got involved in the sport but before getting too far ahead of ourselves we asked her what Natural Bodybuilding is, as opposed to just bodybuilding.
"Natural Bodybuilding is a Drug Free Sport where athletes don't use enhancers like steroids to develop their muscles."

"My involvement in the sport started about 10 years ago when my partner Marvin Marinus who is from Elsies River Gym was doing power-lifting competitions and he later started competing in Bodybuilding. Naturally I supported him and within a few months after he first went on stage as a bodybuilder he got selected for the World's Championship.
I went with him to the Italy 2014 competition as a Team Manager and I came back to become one of the best judges within a year.
"After seeing all those top athletes on the international platform my perspective changed and I simply started loving the process of judging these competitions."

Lolene Lawrence in her South African Natural Bodybuilding Association colours - Image Supplied

Lolene's career as a judge and administrator has a sharp upward trajectory.
"I received my Provincial Colours as a judge in 2015 and the following year I received my SA Colours. I was also awarded the Judge of the Year Award in 2016. In 2017 I was nominated as the Union's Chief Judge so my focus changed to developing new judges and promoting the sport and the athletes."

Lolene is clear about building on the legacy of her predecessor Hoosain Bester and further growing the sport.
When mentioned to her that we remember Mr Bester giving free rehearsal space at his gym to one of the local dance crews she said "the previous chairperson of WPNBBU has a big heart."
"He is a mentor who I've learnt so much from and have lots of respect for."

Lolene with her mentor and retired predecessor Hoosain Bester - Image Supplied

Lolene says that Bester's Elsies River Gym has produced some top level leaders and international quality athletes.
As chairperson Lolene not only wants to continue that trend in the Elsies River club which she is affiliated to, but to grow the union and develop more high quality leaders, judges and more International Athletes out of the other clubs in the WPNBBU.

Lolene aims for the WP Union to deliver more top South African national and international competitors like Alistair Gladden who placed second in France 2019 and was the Overall Winner in the Senior Division at his previous competition at INBA Africa's South African Championship. There are also others like Kaaya David, Marlon Isaacs, Riyaahd Daniels, Llewellyn Lombard and the latest 2021 Cape Peninsula Seniors & Masters overall champion Kurt Smith.

FLTR Alma Nel an INBA (International Natural Bodybuilding Association) assosiate, Kurt Smith, the Senior and Masters Mens Overall Winner at the first competition for the 2021 Cape Peninsula Championship, and Lolene Lawrence - Image supplied

One of the most important growth areas on which Lolene wants to focus is the participation of more female athletes and administrators in the sport.
“Albeit that we do have female executives and athletes, I am aiming to further grow female participation in the sport.”
“We currently have athletes in the Juniors Ladies and Senior Ladies divisions and this year I’ve introduced a Ladies Disabled Division which I'm quite excited about. “

“Going forward I'd like to introduce more female  divisions which will benefit the athletes and the union but obviously those must fall in line with the international platform line-ups”

“We have thus far produced a few Female International Bodybuilders and Miss Bikini competitors who have placed well, and we would like to increase that success by having more female participants.”
“On an administrative level our current provincial secretary is Hilda Johnson who is also one of our Female International Athletes.”

Lolene says that the biggest challenge for the 24 clubs in the WP Union is that due to the Covid-19 pandemic many of their athletes are struggling to train and prepare for competitions.
"Gyms are randomly opening and closing due to the changing lockdown levels, especially since some of those clubs are based in community gyms; it means those clubs have no control over access to the facility."

Lolene with Alistair Gladden, runner-up in France 2019 and the Overall Winner in the Senior Division at the INBA Africa's South African Championship - Image Supplied

As for her own personal development in the sport, Lolene is hopeful that her rise as a judge and administrator will eventually lead to her being more involved in the international arena.
"Having provincial colours as an official of the provincial union and having SA Colours as a Judge and an official of the South African Natural Bodybuilding Association means I can now judge on an international level."
"God-willing I'll hopefully get a chance to do that soon after this pandemic is over."

Judging by her track record and the confidence placed in her by the provincial union as well as the national association, Lolene Lawrence will certainly have a tremendous impact on the future of Natural Bodybuilding in the Western Province, on a National level and in the International Arena.

Anyone interested in the sport of Natural Bodybuilding can follow the pages listed below and send them a Direct Message for info on a club nearest to you.

Facebook Western Province
WP Natural Bodybuilding Union - Wpnbbu


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