By Christopher Tobutt
It was a real show of super-strength as 21 of the strongest athletes in Cayman competed for the title in the second annual Cayman Islands Strongman Competition at the Lions Centre on Saturday 22 July. There were lightweight, middleweight, heavyweight and a ladies’ division, and there were also competitions between teams. Three of the divisions attracted a few youth competitors who were all hungry to show their older counterparts that they were up to the challenge in the five events – Conan Walk, Deadlift Ladder, Truck Pull, Carry and Load Medley and Atlas Stones.
“We are so excited to be able to bring the Cayman Islands Strongman Competition back after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. The athletes were impressive and put on a good show for the spectators, especially the youth competitors who displayed immense determination and skill. It is our vision to continue to grow the sport here in Cayman because we believe it not only builds physical strength as demonstrated in the competition, but it has helped many people, young and old alike, develop their mental resilience, which is so important in these days in which we’re living,” said Tony McInerny, President of the Cayman Islands Powerlifting Organisation, which hosted the event.
Rich Lawtey set off at a blistering pace on Conan’s wheel, one of the classic “for distance” events in Strongman competitions, which involves the athlete lifting a long bar that sticks out with a weight attached to it and walking with it. The Deadlift Ladder event was next, and athletes competed side by side with each other for the first time in the contest, resulting in several neck-and-neck races, particularly in the men’s heavyweight category. Right after completing the 507 pound powerlift, Jason Sneah said, “I feel pretty good, I think it is because the event itself means so much to me. It’s inspiring, and has helped me do things that I would normally never be able to do.”
In the Truck Pull the entire field in the men’s middleweight category were separated by less than two seconds, as they waited for their chance to show their strength by pulling a 7000 pound pickup truck across the floor, pulling with their arms whilst pushing with their legs. Louane Silva, the only female competitor, showed some of the men how it’s done in the Carry and Load Medley, which involved tire-flipping, carrying a heavy heart shaped concrete block, pulling a heavy length of chain, and carrying two weights side-by-side. She shifted all five objects in a lightning fast 1:14 with a devastating combination of strength and speed. “I wanted to take part because I like to take every opportunity I have to challenge myself. Even when I am not comfortable, I just like to go for it. I am the only woman competing with all these men here so it has been great so far,” she said.
In the Atlas Stones competition Jordan McErlean stunned the crowd by placing all four hefty slabs atop their platforms in just 10 seconds, claiming his crown in the men’s heavyweight. Prizes were awarded for first, second and third place in their categories as well as to the winning team, which was Pig Trotters, a group of rugby players. Proceeds from the event, including a raffle, will be donated to the Alex Panton Foundation and United Against Bullying charities.