Video: Great Yarmouth fitness fan hopes to be ranked as modern day Gongman

HIS iconic, muscle bound frame appeared at the start of hundreds of films and has been depicted by boxers, a stunt double and even a circus strongman.

But now a fitness fan from Great Yarmouth is in with a chance of playing the instantly recognisable Gongman, who would strike a huge cymbal before the opening credits of movies produced and distributed by the Rank organisation.

Ben Tavares beat hundreds of other toned up contestants to smash his way into the finals of a national competition to find a modern day Gongman, and could now be in with a chance of winning a trip to Las Vegas.

The 23-year-old, who works out five times a week, was in the gym sculpting his winning physique when he heard about the contest and decided to enter.

He said: 'One of my friends told me about it and said 'get down there and have a go'. I thought I'd pop down and I did really well.'


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The competition to bring back the Gongman - who enjoyed a career of more than 50 years - celebrates the 75th birthday of the Rank Group, which now owns Mecca bingo and Grosvenor Casinos.

Potential Gongmen, or women, could enter two categories - classic, where they replicated the original gong smash - or freestyle, where they came up with an original bonging routine.

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And it was at Yarmouth's Grosvenor Casino where Ben made his debut as the rippling icon and wowed the judges with his winning strike in the classic category.

'I liked the look of the classical one. The bloke was big and was looking good so I thought I'd enter that,' he said. 'I waited for my turn then took my top off and did it. I think I did as well as I could really.'

But the former Great Yarmouth High School pupil did not stick around to watch his competition and instead went home.

He later returned to the casino with girlfriend Sophia, who is expecting their first child with, to hear the results and to his surprise was announced the winner.

His videoed entry was picked among the top 75 in the country and he was then successfully plucked as one of the top 10 in his category and is waiting to hear if he has won, with an announcement expected today (Friday).

Ben added: 'I didn't think I'd hear anything else and they got hold of me and said I was in the top 75, and then I got into the top 10. If I win I get the trip to Vegas, I have never even been abroad. I have got my fingers crossed.'

Since getting through to the final 10, the Harbord Crescent resident has looked over his own performance, via Rank's YouTube channel, which he said he was happy with. And his clip has also been a hit with Sophia, 19.

Ben added: 'She watches it all the time, she loves it.'

To see the video of Ben in action visit our website www.greatyarmouthmercury.co.uk

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