Dis­abil­ity no prob­lem for pow­er­lifter

Hamilton Press - - OUT & ABOUT - BEN FLOOD, WINTEC JOURNALISM STU­DENT

Wiremu Di­a­mond isn’t your av­er­age strong­man.

The 29-year-old pow­er­lifter was di­ag­nosed with brachial plexus af­ter he was in­volved in car crash at age 13.

The crash sev­ered nerves in the back of his head, im­mo­bil­is­ing his right shoul­der and bi­cep.

Now he’s gone from a rel­a­tive novice, to plac­ing first in the un­der 125kg weight class at the United Pow­er­lift­ing As­so­ci­a­tion New Zealand (UPANZ) na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

He has only been pow­er­lift­ing for three months.

‘‘It’s been a fast process and my coach Daniel Ru­dolph has been guid­ing me re­ally well.

‘‘Be­ing so new to the sport, he’s bring­ing me along at a good pace un­til I’m strong enough to go full bore and let every­one know what I’m about,’’ he said.

Due to his in­jury, Di­a­mond is known as an adap­tive lifter as he has to de­velop dif­fer­ent tech­niques in or­der to com­pete.

His lack of strength and grip in his right arm makes it dif­fi­cult, but not im­pos­si­ble.

‘‘I com­pete against able bod­ied men and as far as I know I’m the only adap­tive lifter in New Zealand who com­petes in dead­lift, squat and bench press,’’ Di­a­mond

‘‘Any­one can do it, re­gard­less of any phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties.’’

said.

‘‘When you com­pare my num­bers to able men you can see there is a dif­fer­ence, but it’s more about hav­ing the right at­ti­tude than any phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties.’’

The na­tional com­pe­ti­tion took place in Hamil­ton on Au­gust 26.

Di­a­mond’s next com­pe­ti­tion will be held in Oc­to­ber, but his long term goal stretches past just lift­ing.

‘‘I have a goal to open up a league for dis­abled men and women along­side UPANZ.

‘‘First I need to build cred­i­bil­ity and find oth­ers who are will­ing to take part, which I think just comes down to putting my­self out there and com­pet­ing as much as pos­si­ble,’’ he said.

With pow­er­lift­ing be­ing a rel­a­tively un­known sport in New Zealand, Di­a­mond holds high hopes for its pro­gres­sion.

‘‘I just want to see its pop­u­lar­ity grow be­cause every­one is do­ing it at the gym al­ready, but are too in­tim­i­dated by the big ma­cho guys that can lift 400kgs.

‘‘I just want to show oth­ers that any­one can do it, re­gard­less of any phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties.’’

Wiremu Di­a­mon, 29, placed first in his weight class at a United Pow­er­lift­ing As­so­ci­a­tion com­pe­ti­tion.

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