Johnston Eyes Spot in Euro Strongest Man Event; Rhyl Man 22nd in Arnold STRONGMAN

Article excerpt

Byline: GARETH BICKNELL

SIMON JOHNSTON came 22nd out of 45 when he competed against the world's finest in the Arnold Amateur Strongman competition at the weekend.

Johnston, from Rhyl, was hoping to make the top 10 in the US competition - one of the most prestigious of its kind in the world.

But a disappointing first round cost the reigning Wales' Strongest Man, who had raised PS1,100 in sponsorship and support from family and friends to fund the trip.

Later this month Johnston will be in action in Bala, in a "Giants Live Wales" event which will serve as a qualifier for both Britain's and Europe's Strongest Man competitions.

After that he will aim to retain his Wales' Strongest Man title - and could be defending the crown in North Wales as organisers are hoping to find a suitable venue in the region.

And Johnston said he has learned a lot from the Arnold Strongman - named after bodybuilder-turned-film star Arnold Schwarzenegger - which saw competitors from all over the world battling it out.

"It was a great experience to see how they do it in America," said Johnston. "It's one of the leading countries for strongman, and there were people from Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, Canada, Brazil - it's basically the world championships.

"It was good to see what people had done before the event to get themselves ready, the different foods they ate in between events to recover."

Johnston competed in four events, with the top 10 after those disciplines going through to the final.

It was the first event which let him down, with Johnston paying the price for an unusual early start.

"The first event started at eight in the morning, and anyone who lifts will know you can't lift heavy weights first thing in the morning. …