POWERLIFTING: A BOROUGH strongman is hoping to top his already remarkable story by landing gold in the World Powerlifting Championships in the Czech Republic this weekend.
Fitness fanatic Leon Newman will jet off to Prague to compete against hundreds of the world’s top powerlifting athletes. But few of his competitors will have a background story to match Leon’s route to the finals.
The 46-year-old personal trainer was forced to switch to powerlifting after suffering from a heart attack at a strongman competition in Birmingham two years ago.
After waiting months for a diagnosis, Leon now has to wear a mask when sleeping and had to immediately stop competing in strongman competitions.
The Solihull lifter explained to Observer Sports Editor Shaun Reynolds that his preferred format was ‘too brutal’ to compete in following his heart attack.
But if there was ever to be a silver lining from his incident it is this – a chance to land gold at the World Championships in powerlifting.
“It was clear I couldn’t in strongman events after my heart attack,” said Leon.
“It was only after the heart attack that I took an interest in powerlifting.”
Qualifying for the World Championships didn’t prove easy.
Leon broke four British records en route to qualifying for the finals, but the likable character remains grounded to his roots of reality knowing bagging gold will be a tough ask.
He said: “I’ll see what the competition is like when I get there.
“My main competitor has won the event a few times so I’ll want to give him a run for his money.
“I’m prepared though. They’ll be 900 lifters from all over the world competing in an eight-day competition. It won’t be easy.”