MY disability is just a state of mind – the inspirational words of Chard’s super strongman Gary Clarke, who has jetted off to Iceland in a bid to retain his World’s Strongest Disabled Man title.
Gary, 36, who suffers from cerebral palsy, will fly to Reykjavik to compete in the international strength event and after being crowned the winner three times previously, he is hoping to do the same this time around.
He hopes to smash his personal best scores which are lifting at least 75kg on the Log Lift, 50kg on the Atlas Stones, 45 seconds and 80kg on the Hercules Hold, a 30kg dumbbell press and an impressive Crucifix Hold of over one minute with 10kg weights.
Gary trains at Ilminster Fitness Pro Strength and Fitness under twice Britain’s Strongest Man winner, Laurence Shahlaei.
Gary said: “In the past I’ve had to rely on myself and the generosity of friends and relatives to cover the cost of competing.
“I am determined to go out to Reykjavik and give it my all. As long as I beat my records from last year I will be pleased – all you can do is the best for yourself.
Gary uses crutches and experiences difficulties with his balance due to his condition but described his disability as just a small part of his life.
He added: “Disability is just a state of mind – I choose not to let it hold me back and events like this prove you can achieve the things you want to, regardless of any disability.”
Gary, who is sponsored by Impey Showers in Ilton, said there is no UK disabled strongman competition and this is something he wants to change in the near future.
He said: “I want to start disabled strongman competitions in the UK and make them as popular here as they are in other countries. I want to give disabled people the chance to show the public what they’re made of.
“I want to pave the way for others and help them to achieve what I have been lucky enough to accomplish.”