Sarnia bodybuilder Maria Mikola is a five-time Canadian champ who has competed at the world championships.
Now she wants to pad her credentials on home soil at the International Body Building Federation (IBBF) World Fitness Championships in Laval, Quebec later this month.
“It's the first time the worlds have ever been held in Canada,” said the former competitive gymnast, who got hooked on bodybuilding following a career-ending injury.
Mikola, 46, and Bernie Mockler, 51, qualified for the worlds by capturing first place in the mixed pairs competition at the Canadian Championship, also in Laval, in early September.
Most world-class bodybuilders are from overseas, and the pair is both upbeat and realistic heading into the global competition.
“I would love to place top five,” said Mikola. “And, if we win, that would be icing on the cake,” she added. “But it's hard to say what they (the judges) are looking for.”
Mikola says the mixed pairs competition is making a comeback on the international scene after waning in popularity.
“They used to do it (mixed pairs) back in the 1980's, but then it died because the women bodybuilders became too big and it didn't look attractive anymore,” she said, noting the focus for women now is on fitness and physique.
Mockler, who trains with Mikola at Sharky's Athletic Club on London Line, is hopeful competing at home will give the pair an edge.
“Being in (suburban) Montreal is going to be good for us in the sense we'll have national support,” he said.
“The preparation, the food and all that is so much easier when you're not travelling overseas. I’m hopeful we'll have a good outing there.”