Garrabost has two Commonwealth gold medallists following successes at the Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships for Tom Parkes and Martin Flett.
Parkes won the Junior Over 120 Kg Powerlifting title and Flett triumphed in the Masters 2 Under 105 Kg Bench Press.
The venue for the 2011 championships was Bournemouth, on the south coast of England. That meant a 700 mile overnight drive for the two Lewis men.
Martin spent the first two days of the championships acting as MC. An eleven hours stint on the mike on day one followed by a further 12 hours on day 2 left him tired and hoarse on day 3, when Tom competed.
Tom’s ambitious target for the event was a 400 pound bench press, a 500 pound squat and a 600 pound deadlift to hit the magic 1500 pound total, and he came so close to achieving this.
He got his 400 pound bench press, just missed his 500 pound squat, and lifted a 600 pound deadlift only to have it red-lighted because he failed to completely lock out his knees.
Nonetheless his excellent total of 1415 pounds (642.5 Kg) was good enough for Tom to come away with four gold medals – winning gold for each individual discipline as well as the overall gold and the Commonwealth title for 2011.
During the championships Tom met many powerlifting greats, including 2009 World Superheavyweight Champion Dean Bowring who saw lots of potential in Tom and spent over an hour imparting words of wisdom which will stand Tom in great stead in the future.
Tom also impressed British Bench Press manager Marc Giles and could be in line for a place in the British team for the 2012 World Championships if he continues to improve over the next six months.
The final day of the four day event was the bench press day, when Martin had his opportunity to lift.
Martin was the Scotland team manager for the Championships, and of the team of seven the other six had all won gold before Martin lifted. No pressure then!
Martin was lifting unopposed in the 50+ 105 Kg class.
“I could in theory have just put 100 Kg on the bar, lifted that and been champion,” said Martin. “But that wouldn’t have been in the spirit of the competition and wouldn’t have made me a worthy champion. So I opened with 185 Kg.
“I knew from past events that that was enough to beat any Commonwealth lifter in my age and weight class.”
Martin was successful with 185 and then put 200 Kg on the bar to try and take the Commonwealth record. He actually managed to lock out the 200, but had the lift red-lighted for hip movement.
“The referees tend to be extra strict on record attempts,” said Martin. “No complaints, the hips did move, but on another day it might have been passed.”
To cap off a memorable event, Martin was presented with a special award for services to Commonwealth powerlifting in recognition of his two-day stint on the microphone.
The duo have little time to rest on their laurels. They are both training hard for the British Bench Press Championship, from which internationals will be selected for 2012, which takes place on 11th February.