Saturday, 23 March 2013

Launceston set to become centre for disabled powerlifting

Launceston is set to become a local centre for disabled powerlifting after a town gym became the first in Cornwall to house a specially adapted bench.

It's all thanks to the generosity of Gold medal winning Paralympian Anthony Peddle who donated his disabled bench to town resident Jade Farrington after he retired from powerlifting. And to Crunch Gym on the Scarne Industrial Estate offered to host the facility to give as many people as possible the opportunity to try the sport.

Jade, who holds six able-bodied powerlifting records, had her left femur replaced with a metal prosthesis aged 9 following bone cancer and has competed and trained with the British Weightlifting Association for the Disabled.

She said: “I can’t thank Anthony enough for giving me his bench and bar. Crunch Gym owners Mark and Merwyn Quick travelled up to Chesterfield to collect them and I’m really grateful that they’ve found room for the bench in the gym.

“Cornwall gets a raw deal when it comes to sport, and disabled sporting facilities are practically non-existent, so to have this on the A30 where it’s easily accessible to so many people is fantastic. I hope making it available to the public will encourage disabled people to give powerlifting a go, and hopefully take it up on a competitive basis.”

Anthony Peddle is a Paralympic legend having competed in seven games. He won gold in Sydney in 2000 where he set a world record of 168kg which stood for seven years. He lifted 140kg in the under 48kg bodyweight category at London 2012 before retiring.

Jade said: “I hope the opportunity to lift on the bench he owned and trained on will encourage people with disabilities to try powerlifting and hopefully get a taste for it.”

Able-bodied powerlifting sees athletes compete at the squat, bench press and deadlift, while disabled lifters carry out the bench press only on a specially designed long bench which supports their entire body.

Crunch Gym member and wheelchair user Kyle Jordan, 16, was thrilled to see the bench delivered. He said: “It’s wider and allows me to feel stable and secure so I can focus purely on lifting. When I use standard narrow benches it’s difficult to get my balance so I can’t lift as much. Now I don’t have to worry and I can get the full benefit.”

Merwyn Quick said it was great that Crunch had become the first gym in Devon or Cornwall to offer a disabled bench.

“This is just the start of preparations to make the gym more accessible to all,” she said. “We’re just so privileged to have this facility.”

The bench is now available for disabled and able-bodied use. For details, call 01566 248252 or visit Crunch Gym.


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