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Sefo building for Ms Universe

Competing on the international scene has been a long-term ambition for Masterton bodybuilder Jacqui Sefo, and that should become a reality with a trip to Germany to the Ms and Mr Universe pageant within touching distance.

Sefo,53, won her first New Zealand titles at the 2022 Horleys Wai Weight National Championships held at the Wairarapa College hall last October, taking out the women’s 50-plus physique and the overall women’s physique title at the National Amateur Bodybuilders Association [Nabba] event.

The idea of stepping on the stage in a major international competition has been a dream for Sefo since she first competed in bodybuilding in 1995, and following the urgings of Christchurch professional Lisa Bailey-Smith, she could soon be on her way to Cuxhaven in northern Germany.

Bailey-Smith initially suggested Sefo travel to the prestigious event in 2020, only for covid-19 to curtail those plans and again in 2022, but with international borders now fully open, she is taking the step up.

Firstly, though, Sefo must qualify by finishing in the top three at this weekend’s Nabba national championships in New Plymouth, but that looks to be a formality, with her and Bailey-Smith likely to be the only entrants in the international class.

Sefo has shown good form leading into the nationals, having won the international class and overall Ms Physique title at the Waikato-Bay of Plenty regional championships at the end of September; however, she had to overcome a stomach bug, which meant she went into the competition dehydrated.

Although Sefo expects to come second to Bailey-Smith in New Plymouth, she still aims to perform well, as the event is an important part of her conditioning for the Ms and Mr Universe championships.

In Germany, she hopes to step out on stage with the lowest body fat possible and in the best condition she has ever been, but there’s a lot of hard work, including following a strict diet, before the big event.

“You don’t necessarily have to be massive,” Sefo said.

“It’s about symmetry and how big you look on stage, and you look bigger on stage the leaner you get.

“In the off-season, I’m about 85kg, and I will be 62kg, hopefully, by the time I go on stage.

“I’m 67kg now, so I’ll lose about 20 kilos in three or four months.”

Sefo added that her preparation is currently 24 hours day, seven days a week, and as well as adhering to her strict diet, which includes five specially prepared meals a day, she does two hours of cardio workouts each day, so she is in peak condition for her international debut.

With no age groups at the Ms and Mr Universe competition, Sefo will contest the international physique class.

A top-six finish is her goal, and although she reckons it will be a big ask, she believes it is achievable.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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