Disability no problem for powerlifter
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.’’
‘‘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.