By Iva Wharton
Superwoman just might be the most appropriate word to describe Alisha Fortune.
At 36-six years old, Fortune, a single mother is balancing motherhood, her job, athletics, bodybuilding and also being a football referee.
Fortune, a massage therapist and mother of three, said it sometimes amazes her when she thinks of the amount of work she has done and continues to do.
“But without the creator, without God it would not have been possible. Let me tell you, sometimes it can be challenging. What I have learnt to do is to put things in place to make it a little easier for me and for them (her children). I have learnt to programme myself.
”There are days for shopping groceries, meeting my patients, washing, cleaning and baking.
“For the week I don’t have to get up or think about making juice for the kids and stuff like that. I don’t ever give them money to buy lunch. I prepare their meals because I don’t know that they are preparing out there and how healthy it is.”
Fortune, a sprinter and bodybuilder, said despite her responsibilities to her children and her job, she is not yet ready to give up on sports. According to her she still has a lot to give.
Starting at age nine she entered the athletics arena. “It was not always easy, but over the years I have been able to cope with the difficulties, she said.
She said that she was not always a sprinter, but started out as a distance runner. It was her coach Dennis Smith, who, after seeing her run, told her she was best suited for the sprints.
According to her, getting to the Olympics or being able to compete professionally was her goal. That, she said, was not meant to be, as there were many obstacles.
Her first chance at an international meet was the Carifta Games in 1992, but she could not go because of lack of finance. That trend she said continues up to present day.
“I don’t know what it was, but I never got to expand and explode the way I wanted, because something was there. Sometimes you made the team and you can’t travel because of finance or someone else should go.”
She said that there were thoughts of quitting the sport, but her father ensured she didn’t.
“`Winners never quit, but losers do’” she said, were his words to her.
That, she said, is what has kept her in the sport until now.
Those disappointments affected her psychologically as a child and a young woman, but Fortune says they have made her stronger.
Fortune, who has recently signed on with Giftland Office Max under its Fila’s brand, is adamant that had received that kind of sponsorship as a young athlete, she would have made it professionally.
Reports of her making a permanent switch to bodybuilding she said are not true.
She said she started bodybuilding as a hobby, but said that in the future she may make the switch.
According to her, there are no age limits to when you stop being a bodybuilder unlike athletics.
But for how, she will not be expanding because she still has work to do on the track. Fortune said she can still compete in athletics, at the masters’ level.
She said that it disturbs her when she sees young athletes with potential leave the sport to pursue other avenues. That, she said, should not be.
“The private sector and the government must invest in sport. You are not going to see results in a year or two, but you will in the long run.”
Athletes, she said, must be offered incentives that will increase the rivalry, which will only lift the level of the sport.
This, she said, is happening in counties like Trinidad, Jamaica and Barbados. The same can be done here. It just requires the right people with the right attitude.
A member of the Running Braves Athletics Club, Fortune said she is looking at her children, two of whom have shown an interest in athletics. Twins; Adrian and Andrea. Andre, her third child, is just not interested, he is into cricket, she said.
As a mother, she said she would be ensuring that her children do not suffer the same fate as she did, while pursuing her dreams.