Injury is no match for this fit Crossfit nanna
AS SHE lay in a hospital bed nursing a badly broken arm, Francine Pehi's dreams of competing in the CrossFit Games also appeared to be shattered.
In August 2012, the now 45-year-old Caloundra woman looked set to compete in what is described as "the world's premier test to find the fittest on Earth", held each year in Carson, California.
"I was on track, I was heading toward the games," the mother-of-three said.
But a misplaced step during box-jumps at a local competition ended in disaster.
"I landed wrong and went to break the fall with my left arm."
It was a devastating blow to Miss Pehi, who had thrived since discovering CrossFit in 2010.
"I didn't think I would be able to really properly lift a barbell again, let alone compete in the CrossFit Games," she said.
However, a broken arm was no match for Miss Pehi's steely determination.
Screws and plates were inserted into her arm and she began to heal.
Miss Pehi, now a grandmother, will go head-to-head against 19 of the fittest athletes from around the world, after qualifying at the regional competition held in Wollongong May 22 to 24.
Incredibly, she is now ranked ninth in the world in her age group, an achievement that still surprises even her.
Success has not come without sacrifice.
Five weeks ago, Miss Pehi walked out of her job as a disability support worker, to focus on qualifying for the games and completing up to 30 hours of training each week.
"When I qualified, I thought 'oh my gosh, I can't do both'."
Miss Pehi will fly to the US to compete July 21 to 26.
"I have set an intention of a podium finish - I'm not going over there just to have fun," she said.
She said her determination stemmed from her love of CrossFit, and a desire to show her family what could be accomplished.
"I think the fact that I've had to come back from this horrible injury, it just pushes me to see how much further I can go, and also leading by example for my children and grandchild," she said.
Miss Pehi is calling for the Sunshine Coast and CrossFit communities to support her.
She has already raised more than $2000 out of $5000 on her Go Fund Me page.