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Titanic Strongman tussle provides Crums of comfort

 Northern Ireland strongman Glenn Ross
Seamus Maloney

IF only all television was like the bank holiday television of your youth. The news only lasted 10 minutes. Which was just as well because why anybody would want to keep Escape to Victory waiting for longer than is absolutely necessary remains a mystery.

Later in the day there would be another ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ news bulletin – this time bringing some sort of Indiana Jonesy or James Bondy glint-in-the-eye high jinks in its wake.
Though that wasn’t always the case. Sometimes there would be an extra treat sandwiched between the weather and The Temple of Doom, and more often than not it would be the World’s Strongest Man competition.

In the late 80s and early 90s there were few more comforting sights on the box than enormous Icelanders hauling humongous lumps of rock onto barrels on a dock somewhere in the Mediterranean. The strongmen are still being strong – but they don’t do it on primetime any more, and a world of more than four channels means the Strongman Champions League (really) can knock about on Eurosport without causing a ripple on a bank holiday or any other time.

The UK’s Strongest Man competition popped up on Channel Five on Friday night all the way from beautiful Belfast. 

A quick montage showed how the eight finalists had qualified to lug things around the yard at Crumlin Road Gaol – mainly thanks to tug of war outside the City Hall and dragging trucks around outside the Titanic building.

Unsurprisingly, Bangor behemoth Glen “Who’s the Daddy !?!” Ross (left) was heavily involved in proceedings alongside presenter Matt Bell, explaining just what was involved in the Farmer’s Walk, the Giant Log Press, the Barbell Squat and the Super Yoke – which was perfectly described. Both super and quite a yoke.

Belfast being Belfast the final event was entirely appropriate – the Flag Hoist although the Jolly Rogers that went up didn’t cause too much consternation on the Crumlin Road.

In the end, Englishman Eddie Hall won his fifth successive title – after which he pledged to “train even harder and eat more” (sounds half-perfect to me) in his bid to win the World’s Strongest Man title in 2016.

Good luck to him, although if the competition clashes with Escape to Victory I can’t promise his name will make it into Armchair Reporter that particular week.

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