Thursday, December 4, 2008

Strong contender for global success

East Lothian Courier | Sport | Strong contender for global success

TRANENT strong-woman Mary Anderson put in a Herculean performance at the World Powerlifiting Championships in the USA, winning all six categories and breaking six world records.

And now the athletic 41-year-old intends to test herself against the most powerful females on the planet by entering World’s Strongest Woman 2009.

Anderson, a former national pentathlon champion in the 1980’s, has now secured a clean sweep of titles having been crowned Scottish, British, European and world women's under 80kg powerlifting champion.

But the Muirside Drive resident will probably miss out on a nomination for BBC's Sport’s Personality of the Year award because the sport – in which she has enjoyed unparalleled success – is not sufficiently popular in the UK.

“Powerlifting is not an Olympic or Commonwealth sport like weightlifting which is why it’s going downhill a bit, which is a shame,” said Anderson.

“But the field is still strong and so I'm chuffed with myself for winning.”

Powerlifting consists of three specific disciplines: the ‘squat’, where the athlete holds the weight bar on their shoulders before crouching and standing; a ‘bench press’, where the powerlifter extends their arms and weight from their chest whilst resting on their back; and a ‘dead lift’ where the weighted bar is lifted off the ground to the thigh.

Competitors can enter both the ‘equipped’ – aided by body supports or ‘wraps’ – and the ‘unequipped’ sections of the sport.

In the unequipped category Anderson broke the squat record by 5kgs lifting 160kgs and won the dead lift with 192.5kgs. In the unequipped she achieved a squat of 200kgs; a bench press of 110kgs; and a dead lift of 212.5kgs – the equivalent of three times her body weight.

A six day-a-week training regime on the run-up to the competition in Ewansville, Indiana, meant Anderson was in peak physical condition and so the county athlete declared she would have been dissatisfied with anything less than a win.

“This year’s worlds is the best I have ever performed in the sport but if I'm honest I’m never happy and always thinking about how can I improve,” she said.

And she hopes her scintillating form continues as she bids for the title of World Strongest Woman next year.

“This is something I have always wanted to do before I retire,” she said.

“I knew someone who competed in it last year and did quite well so I thought I could do that.

“I don’t do anything half-hearted so I will give a real go. And I kinda fancy my chances because I would not even consider entering otherwise!”

Success in the competition’s British qualifiers will secure a place in World's Strongest Woman contest to be held in May 2009.

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