Ballymoney set for big lift-off

ONE of Ballymoney’s most popular annual events takes place this Saturday.

The Northern Ireland Powerlifting Championships - organised by Sam Graham of Sam’s Gym in the town - takes place once again at the Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre.

And this year’s show looks set to be the best yet with a number of the sport’s top stars looking to smash world records.

“The boys are all coming looking to break records left, right and centre,” Sam told Times Sport.

“The Northern Ireland Powerlifting Championships can qualify you for the Worlds and Europeans so it’s a big deal.

“There will be 40 competitors which is more than ever.

Andy Bolton, the biggest deadlifter in history, is coming over and will be trying to break the deadlift record.

“He ‘s also going to try to become the first British lifter to benchpress 800lbs. It would be fantastic if he did it here in Ballymoney.

“It will be a great day.

“It always gets a big crowd and with him coming over it should be an even bigger crowd.

“Gerry McNamara from the south is hoping to be the first man at 71kgs to squat 400kgs, which is a big, big feat.

“Kyle Vauls from Coleraine is hoping to bench press 300kgs so there will be some big, big lifting.

“Big Glenn Ross will also be competing.”

Admission is just £3 and kids get in for free.

Meanwhile, Sam says he is hoping to be back in action himself shortly after suffering a heart attack recently: “There was no long-term damage done, I think with the years of training I have a good strong heart.

“The plan is to recover and get back at it again.

“The Worlds are in Limerick in November and I’m hoping if things go to plan I could lift then, if I can.

“But if not I won’t worry too much about it, there will be other opportunities in the future.”

The event takes place in the Joey Dunlop Centre Ballymoney this Saturday from 10am.