Team Jamaica has made an exciting new find to boost its chances in international weightlifting competition, with the addition of Chloe Whylie, a grand niece of the late Professor Rex Nettleford, who has been getting attention in Britain where she was born of Jamaican parentage.
Whylie is scheduled to represent the country in the next International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championship, as well as the 2021 Commonwealth Senior Championship this December in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
“It’s a logical and heartfelt choice for me. I’m a small fish stepping into a big pond, but I’m willing to grow,” the ultra modest Whylie told the Jamaica Observer in an interview yesterday. “I am excited and awed at the honour of representing Jamaica.”
Whylie, whose trophy chest is bulging with gold, silver and bronze medals from competitions in the United Kingdom and Europe, was born in Bath, England, to Jamaican mother, Susan Whylie. Her late grandmother, Daphne ”Nanny” Whylie was the sister of the late icon of academia, Rex Nettleford, and was part of the Windrush Generation who migrated to England between 1948 and 1971.
“As Chloe witnessed the challenges her grandmother and mother faced in British culture, she grew up as a mixed-race girl with a strong determination to empower herself and others to be proud of their Afro-Caribbean heritage,” said Tina Mowatt-Reece, one of her publicists.
Chloe Whylie left home at 16 to pursue her dreams of becoming a powerlifting champion, saying she had found solace and empowerment participating in sports in her primary and secondary school years after her self-esteem and confidence in the classroom suffered due to a late diagnosis of dyslexia.
When she started her career in weightlifting, she discovered her love for powerlifting and Olympic lifting, and is now known as a hybrid athlete. Over the years, she has managed to condition herself to be able to compete in both sports successfully and medalling in both.
Among her impressive medal haul, she has earned gold in the Essex Open held on October 24, 2021, the most recent; the South Midlands Competition; the European Championships; the British Championships; and the Greater London Classic; as well as silver in the Grand Prix English Championships (Olympic lifting).
“Becoming a member of the Jamaican Senior Athletics Team and relocating to Jamaica come early next year, is an unforeseen and divine climax for my athletic career. To be given the opportunity to represent Jamaica, is not only an exciting new chapter, but a God-given opportunity” to immerse more deeply in my Jamaican and African roots.”
She has dedicated her successful career to Nanny Whylie and the rest of the Windrush Generation.