Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us
Archive - Monday, 15 November 2010
Find by date
Other ways to search
Also look for
Firefighter is Britain’s strongest man
AS A fireman you’d expect Ben Kelsey to be a bit of a hunk. But the strongest man in Britain?
Oxford firefighter Ben Kelsey, pictured at the Oxford Rugby Club gym where he trains
Mr Kelsey, a firefighter at Oxford’s Slade Park fire station, can claim to be the strongest man in the country after beating every other UK competitor in the World’s Natural Strongman contest.
The six-foot-tall, 110kg, weightlifter, who works as a part-time builder, finished fourth in the global contest.
But being a modest man of few words, he has taken it all in his stride.
The 26-year-old, from Overmead in Abingdon was one of 15 athletes from 11 countries competing in five events at the finals, held in the Hungarian capital, Budapest.
Ben flipping the 500kg tyre at the World’s Natural Strongest Man tournament in Hungary
The competition on October 30 saw contenders carrying a 180kg stone 25 meters and flipping a 500kg tyre four times.
But Mr Kelsey, who grew up in Risinghurst, isn’t stopping there. After lifting weights for 12 years and training for strong man events for seven months, he now has his sights set on the world title.
He said: “The contest was very very competitive and there were some very talented and strong people there. But it was promising to know that I could compete with some of the best athletes in the world.”
The former Wheatley Park School pupil works out at Oxford Power Sports gym two hours a day seven times a week, and can lift 315kg.
But he said the secret to his strength also lay in a high protein diet; he tries to eat six times a day. He said: “I have quite a healthy appetite. I do eat lots but I try to include healthy food.”
He said he had been a skinny, but sporty, teenager until he started working out at 16.
He threw the discus for Oxford City Athletics Club for 15 years and competed for England under-23s in the sport. He also represented the West London-based Thames Valley Harriers.
But he says the appeal of competing in the strong man competition came from its variety.
Mr Kelsey, who has been a firefighter for four years, said: “It is continuously challenging to be the best in a very wide range of events.
“But whether it be the strongest man in the gym, Oxford or England – these titles appeal to my nature.”
The World’s Natural Strongman was won by Hungarian veteran strong man Laszlo Fekete who has won the title more than 20 times.
Ben said the competition differed from the better-known World’s Strongest Man as it was drug-tested to an Olympic standard. But while he said he would never use steroids, he insisted he had nothing against those who did use them sensibly and lawfully.