You’re quite well known in British Powerlifting as a referee, do you prefer being a referee, or a lifter?
Oh, I absolutely love refereeing and I definitely prefer it. I can’t complain as it's known that referees have the best seat in the house! Don’t get me wrong, I do love lifting but I socially meet more lifters through refereeing. It also keeps you (as a ref) on your toes about knowing the rules and staying up to date.
Can you talk about challenges you’ve faced in your powerlifting career so far, whether that’s from your own issues, or anything that other people have brought to you?
Since coming over to powerlifting it has kept me focused and allows me to destress. I pop my headphones in, focus on my weight training and I’m removed from the outside life. The biggest challenges in my powerlifting career have been 2 events. One was dropping 90KG on my face (back in April 19) whilst benching in a slingshot. That was scary to get back under the bar again, but I overcame the fear of benching pressing normally. To date, I haven’t put my slingshot back on. I will in time, but I am not ready for it right now. The second event was having facial Jaw surgery. I had this for medical reasons and in September 19 I was put under general anaesthetic for 3 hours whilst the surgeon broke my jaw, fitted in titanium plates and realigned it all. I was told I wouldn’t be able to go back into the gym for at least 3-6 months and had to relearn to chew food. I was on a 6-week liquid diet. 5 days after surgery I was adamant to go back to the gym. I wasn’t mentally prepared to undo all my hard work. More so I couldn’t sit at home and do nothing. I wasn’t allowed to drive as I was heavily medicated, but I forced myself to cycle to the gym, and go very light. After 10 days post-op my surgeon looked at me and said – “you are not supposed to lift weights, but I know you have been to the gym, It’s good to see you're trying to return to normality. Just make sure you are not clenching your jaw or biting hard, I’ll book in Xrays every 4 weeks to keep an eye” and with that, I carried on as normal with the gym. I entered myself into the ST comp as an u57 lifter (usually 63) because I was aware of my diet that my weight would rapidly drop. Fast forward to now I am still healing but factoring in the surgery has taken a hit on my strength. It just pushes me to work extra hard and come back stronger.
What has been your favourite aspect of powerlifting to date?
I love watching the lifters lift, that’s probably why I love refereeing so much. I feel their nerves, passion, determination and I want nothing for them to successfully get the lift. It doesn’t matter if you are breaking records, competing for the first time or lifting any weight. The energy the lifter brings, the crowd and support - we want to see every lifter be successful. The look of relief is always so memorable. I’ve even had tears for lifters when I could see how much the lift meant to them. To be honest I’ve seen it all on the platform. Heck, I’ve even been ALMOST vomited on as centre referee. All sorts have happened on the platform. You carry those memories for sure!
It’s no secret you like the new SBD gear, how do you find it compares to the previous kit, and other brands so far?
I’m just going to say this – I LOVE SBD. The quality of their new kit is incredible. It’s comfortable, squat proof and the quality is brilliant. I’ve had other brands in the past but I highly rate SBD. They're a British company and the customer service is fantastic.
What do you most enjoy outside of lifting?
I love travelling and sightseeing. I’m quite fortunate my job allows me to travel around the world. I work for a tech company and I’m travelling to a different country each month which is fun but I try to make the most out of it by visiting the area. I also have been to some incredible powerlifting gyms in the states!
What are your ambitions within powerlifting for the future, whether that’s for yourself, or the sport in general?
My goal is to become a cat 1 referee, Of course I need to become a cat 2 first but that’s the goal!