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Arnold Sports Festival 2022 opens at Columbus Convention Center

The 2022 Arnold Expo opened on Thursday and features nearly 1,000 exhibitor booths with sports, nutrition, apparel and equipment and four stages of unique, non-sport competitions.

Mom of two, Meri TKemaladze began her fitness journey a year and a half ago. Her long-term goal was staying in shape.

Now at age 39 she has entered her fifth bikini fitness competition. She flew in from Florida hoping her hard work and commitment will bring her hardware at the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus. She said she stays in the gym long hours but keeps a tight schedule to make it work.

“It is difficult because it takes a lot of time. But you just have to keep very organized. Yourself, your day, your kids, your house, your work, whatever. If you if you can do that and just keep it consistent, it's doable, “ Tkemaladze said.

She said competing makes her stay on task and makes her feel better.

“And (the) older, we get, obviously, you know, gravity takes turn, and you know, we age, and I just wanted to make sure I just live longer. And so I realized that strength training is one of the ways to have a long life. It is a long road, it is very competitive and it's intense physically and mentally but it's definitely doable,” she said.

The Arnold Sports Festival runs through Sunday at the Greater Columbus Convention Center with more than 40 competitions.

Williams was a reporter for WOSU. Natasha is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and has more than 20 years of television news and radio experience.