Strongman Sammy picks up first title after heart attack

Powerlifting king Sammy Graham is back on the road to world domination.

THUMBS UP. Sammy Graham, who was one of the referees' at the Strongman event gives the 'thumbs up' to a lift on Saturday.INBM20-12 062SC.

After surviving a heart attack last year, Sammy roared back to sensationally claim victory at the Irish Nationals in Limerick on 16 June.

The Ballymoney iron man had been out of action for two years and had been troubled by atrial fibrillation - an erratic heartbeat.

However he has made a full recovery and held off the rival competitors to lift the 100kg Masters class title.

The dramatic return to form means Sammy has qualified for the World Powerlifting Championships in Slovakia on 14 September.

At the Limerick tournament Sammy became the first person from Northern Ireland to squat 300kg after suffering a heart attack

He also bench-pressed 170kg, and completed a 290kg deadlift to take home the trophy.

Sammy said he was proud of his achievement and glad to be back competing.

He added: “I was delighted with my performance and I had Kyle Vauls down with me who helped me push on. I couldn’t have done it without him.”

“It was the first time I competed in two years. I’ve been ill for a year having had a heart attack and atrial fibrillation. But I’ve had all the checks and there’s no reason why I could not go back to lifting.”

The former seven-time world powerlifting champion, who turns 50 in September, now has 12 weeks of hard training before the worlds.

Also competing at the Irish Nationals was Gerry McNamara who lifted an incredible 400kg at just 75kg bodyweight. It was the world’s second largest squat for that weight category and only 2.5kg off the record.

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