Dereham’s Big Andy takes big step to global domination as he reaches World’s Strongest Man Masters final
- Credit: Ian Burt
It's a massive achievement in every sense of the word.
Andy Clarke from Dereham is set to be the first man from Norfolk to make it to the World's Strongest Man Masters after winning a qualifying competition on Saturday.
Mr Clarke, know as Big Andy, won the Strongman competition at the NEC Body Power Expo in Birmingham in a close contest which saw the lead change hands several times.
But after the five disciplines he won by half a point over a Swedish opponent.
'It came down to the last event, the Atlas stones,' he said. 'You have to lift the 140kg concrete stone over a four foot bar as many times as you can in 60 seconds. Fortunately I managed one more than the Swedish guy which got me the extra half a point I needed.
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'I took some friends with me and they said it was the most stressful few hours of their life. The points were going backwards and forwards. Even after the last event we didn't know I had definitely won until they had finished adding up the scores.'
Mr Clarke opened a weight training gym in Dereham last year and said having his own place to train definitely helped.
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'I'll be 51 in June and I am definitely a few years older than the majority of competitors. I think there may be only one who is a few months older than me in the world. So I am very pleased to get through and I'll be facing the best in the world in the finals. I have put in a lot of hard work.'
The other disciplines Mr Clarke faced were carrying a log over the head, a car deadlift, the farmers' walk which involves carrying two 120kg suitcases along a course, and the yoke bar which is a 320kgs bar across the shoulders.
He thought he may have lost it when he had a stumble on the yoke bar element but managed to make up the points on the last event.
Mr Clarke said he is looking forward to the masters and said the ones to watch were always competitors from Iceland as 'they breed some giants' on the Nordic island.
'The strongmen from eastern Europe are always incredible,' he said. 'But I'll be the first from Norfolk to be there.'
* Big Andy's Gym is on Swaffham Hill in Dereham and welcomes everyone from those who wants to tone to those who want to do strongman training. For more information call 07393 218993.