Belfast Telegraph

Brian Coombes is worth weight in gold

By Robert Jones

Templepatrick powerlifter Brian Coombes took a day off from saving lives in his full time job as a firefighter at Whitla Fire Station in Belfast to compete in the prestigious British Benchpress Championships — and blazed his way to top spot.

The invite only event saw the UK's best powerlifters go head-to-head for the British title and Brian saw off close competition from other competitors in his heavyweight class to become Northern Ireland's first senior to ever win an International Powerlifting Federation British Title.

In doing so, the Co Antrim strongman set a new Commonwealth record.

Brian is no stranger to success and last September won the top award at the World Police and Fire Games (WPFG) breaking the games record in the benchpress and deadlift totals.

He out-lifted 19 other competitors in his weight class from Germany, Finland, USA, Czech Republic, Sweden and Canada and produced one of the biggest lifts in any age group or weight class out of over 500 competitors.

Brian also took home bronze medals and competed in the shotput and hammer throw and is continuing his training at Ballymena and Antrim athletics club.

“My goals are now to qualify for the field events and represent Northern Ireland in the 2014 Commonwealth Games,” he said

“As well as that the WPFG will be in Belfast in August next year and it is expected that over 10,000 athletes and 25,000 visitors will come here.

“That is something that will be brilliant to be involved in and it is massive for Belfast to host such a big, world-class event.”

Ricky Mullan Director of NI Powerlifting, says the sport is growing from strength-to-strength and praised Brian for his work, not just in competing but behind the scenes as well.

“We have the fastest growing strength sports governing body in NI,” added Ricky.

“The Northern Ireland Powerlifting Federation (NIPF) has a remit of fair sport for all and is establishing itself as the premier powerlifting federation in Northern Ireland.

“Providing top class competitions designed to have lifters and spectators enjoy the experience, the NIPF will be in Enniskillen on 16 June for the Northern ireland Championships, followed by the Northern Ireland Benchpress competition in Mid-Ulster during August where several lifters are expected to break British records.

“The NIPF is focussed on encouraging young lifters into the sport, believing that the work ethic, patience and dedication needed to succeed in a tough sport like powerlifting provides a good foundation for kids today, in addition to the long term health benefits.

“A team of six junior lifters will be in Newcastle Upon Tyne in July to compete against the best in England, Spain, Belgium and The Netherlands.

“Brian is the Treasurer and part of the NIPF senior committee and has led the way by firmly putting Northern Ireland on the map and leading the federation by example.

“Our membership this year has doubled and the number of new and junior and female lifters has trebled, thanks to Brian and the other members for their hard work and dedication to the sport.”

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