Clontarf’s Martin Smith brought home a swag of bronze medals from the International Powerlifting Federation’s World Masters Powerlifting Championships in Canada in October.
Competing in the M1 Under 59kg class, Martin says he was up against some tough competition against lifters from Canada and Japan.
His efforts in the Squat (80kg), Bench Press (60kg) and Deadlift (100kg) earnt him a bronze medal in each class, as well as a bronze overall.
“I didn’t realise I’d got the bronze – my personal trainer Colin had asked my Mum (who was watching the competition on television back home in Clontarf) if he should tell me and she said not to,” Martin says.
“I only found out when I heard my name being called out.”
Down Syndrome Queensland Community Engagement and Fundraising Manager Michael Harrison says what makes the Special Olympics veteran’s achievement even more special is that the championships are a mainstream competition, where Martin, who lives with Down Syndrome, is treated the same as every other competitor.
People living with Down Syndrome often have poor muscle tone, but Martin’s success on the international stage is testament to his determination and commitment to his rigorous training regime.
About Martin Smith
A former world champion gymnast, 41-year-old Martin only took up weightlifting about two-and-a-half years ago.
“I’m a big fan of Dwayne Johnson – he’s my idol,” Martin says.
“I lost my Dad and I needed a male in my life and hanging out with the bigger guys – everyone’s made me feel welcome.”
Martin trains six days a week, as well as working with Panthers Powerlifting coach Colin Webb.
“I also work at Urban Xtreme two days a week,” he says.
In November, Martin heads to New Zealand to compete, with a trip to Italy for more competitions planned for next year.
Martin has been a member of the Special Olympics since he was 13, representing Queensland in six national Games in Athletics, Swimming, Basketball and Gymnastics.
He also represented Australia in gymnastics at two World Games.
As well, Martin did karate for 15 years, achieving a 2nd Dan Black belts and was a sensei.
He’s also an ambassador for Down Syndrome Queensland’s Get Active program, which is designed to create pathways for people with intellectual disability into mainstream sport.
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