“Insane to Feel so Strong and Empowered” … Powerlifting Star Lily Day Calls on Girls and Women to Join Her 

If you don’t know the name Lily Day, it’s time you get familiar with it. She is a 17-year old powerlifting star who has already become a trailblazer in her sport. Two years ago she started powerlifting to improve her fitness, but it turned out it was a discipline she had talent for, and she has pursued it to international recognition. All Photos: Supplied

If you don’t know the name Lily Day, it’s time you become familiar with this 17-year old powerlifting star who has already become a world champion in her sport just two years after she began lifting.

The Western Cape student’s lifting only started when she made a decision to improve her fitness,  but it turned out it was a discipline she had talent in:

“I found my coach and as I started progressing with her, she found that I was actually quite strong for my age and invited me to a competition, and from there I started powerlifting, and I loved it ever since!”

Youth Powerlifter, Lily Day

In powerlifting, there are three main disciplines, squat, bench, and deadlift, and Day says her favourite by far is the squat, but it is one of the scarier ones according to her, because if you don’t make the squat, the weight can fall on you. 

Looks like this sport isn’t for the fainthearted! 

The astonishing thing about Day is that even though she is quite new to the sport, she has already enjoyed considerable success, going from being a novice in powerlifting to a championship winner within a year, after the matriculant walked away with the gold medal at the World Powerlifting Congress in the United Kingdom, in 2023.

Day says the road to success has not been an easy one at times, but says she sometimes cannot believe the rise she has been on since she picked up weights. 

“The path that I took was very fast-tracked and normally for most athletes, it’s not that quick, but I think with the amazing support and guidance from my parents, and my amazing coach, I managed to excel.” 

“There were times it was stressful and I felt this was not meant for me, and I should give it up, (but) it was worth it in the end, and I wouldn’t change it for the world! For me it is such a shocking thing that I am a world champion. During my journey, I had to give up a few things that teenagers wouldn’t want to, but in the end, I got the reward for that;” she added.

Powerlifting is a sport that continues to grow in South Africa and the teenager feels that it is also making some strides in getting more women and girls involved in it, however the progress has been slow. 

“When I first started it, I was one of the only females in South Africa, along with a few other girls, and now it has definitely grown. I see so many women and girls of different ages and backgrounds, moms, daughters, people you would never expect to do this sport that are there lifting some of the most insane weights I have ever seen.”

“I definitely see growth in the sport, but it is still not as big as I would like for the females. I think if you want to do powerlifting (as a girl or woman) you should definitely give it a try, because it’s insane to feel so strong and empowered, especially when people say men are the strong ones, women can just sit … Trust me, there are some impressive women out their beating the men in powerlifting.”

The focus in 2024 will be a bit different for Day, as she will focusing on completing her final year of school. She will be doing matric at Generations Schools in Sunningdale, Cape Town and will be prioritising her studies this year, but says that she will be back to powerlifting once she has reached her school goal. 

“I’m taking a step back from competing on a platform, but that does not mean I will still stop training, I will be training super hard, so that in the year 2025 I come back and I am on that platform breaking records, or at least that’s what I hope!

“This year is my final year of school and we all know how stressful that can be, so I have to put my head down and focus on that but that doesn’t mean I will stop powerlifting, I have a goal for 2025 that I will be working towards.”

It’s safe to say that Day has set her mind on achieving her big goal of being successful in her final year of school and that determination will set her in good stead as she hopes to achieve top results when she returns to powerlifting.


Photo caption:If you don’t know the name Lily Day, it’s time you get familiar with it. She is a 17-year old powerlifting star who has already become a trailblazer in her sport. Two years ago she started powerlifting to improve her fitness, but it turned out it was a discipline she had talent for, and she has pursued it to international recognition. All Photos: Supplied

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