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Strongman Michael Downey hoping to log top lift at championships

Michael Downey training at the Blackstaff Complex in west Belfast ahead of the All-Ireland log and deadlift championships on November 12. Picture by Hugh Russell
Neil Loughran

WEST Belfast strongman Michael Downey is aiming to follow in the considerable footsteps of Glenn Ross by showing who's the daddy at next week's All-Ireland log and deadlift championships at Conway Mill.

Ross is a five-time winner of UK's strongest man and made it on to the biggest stage of all – the World's strongest man - on five occasions during an impressive career.

Downey would love to follow suit and go even further if possible, and intends to lay down a marker on Sunday, November 12.

“The Irish log press record is 181 kilos and that's currently held by Sean O'Hagan, so it's a goal of mine to break that record,” said the 25-year-old, who runs regular events in aid of charity.

“I've been involved in strongman for three years – I won Ireland's strongest man under 23s, then I came fifth in the UK version. Before that I was doing power-lifting from I was 16 and I hold European and world records, as well as being Irish champion.

“But I've been training hard for this competition, and my target is to put up 182 kilos and become the first man ever in Ireland to put that weight up. I'm very confident I can do that.

“I hit 184 in training there the other day. Once you're hitting the 180 mark and over, you start getting invites to the log lift championships and tournaments with the strongest pressers in the world.”

Over 40 athletes have already signed up for the All-Irelands and, if Downey can perform to his potential, he feels he will be one step closer to realising his dream.

“The world record on the log is 230 and I'm aiming to hit 190, so that's a plate either side away from the world record. Once I get this kind of record, people will see what I can do, and you might get an invite to a qualifier for the World's strongest man.

“There's only a few of guys from Ireland who have achieved that – Glenn Ross got there, as did Brian Irwin and James Fennelly – and I'd love to join them.”

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