Powerlifter Callum Barney has the weight of the world on his shoulders - and it is not too much for him to carry.
The 23-year-old, from Cowfold, became a world champion earlier this month as he lifted victory in the 75kg category at the World Drug Free Powerlifting Federation championships in Lake Garda, Italy.
Having set three British records back in August, he went on to break three more as he lifted a combined weight of 585kg with a 200kg squat, 132.5kg bench and 252.2kg deadlift.
The gym instructor and coach went to the competition having just recovered from injury and originally entered as a junior, but ended up winning across all age groups.
He ended up seeing of 16 other athletes to take the overall crown for what he has called his ‘proudest achievement’.
Barney revealed: “It was probably the most stressful event and preparation I’ve ever had due to substantial injury for the two months leading up to it, during which I thought I was going to have to withdraw.
“But I decided to continue doing my own rehabilitation, thanks to my masters in sports rehabilitation, and see what I could do.
“On the day I was insanely nervous, but weighing in at 7am left another eight hours sitting around before I started lifting; that calmed my nerves a bit.
“The squats went brilliantly and I had no bother from my injury, but during the bench I noticed that there was some serious competition and that first place was far from guaranteed.
“It came down to the deadlifts, which, due to injury, were thought to be, weakest lift. But the numbers flew up, 225kg, 240kg then 252.5kg It was a massive relief but the motivation from friends and family for each lit was incredible.”
Barney also dedicated the victory to a relative and added: “Six years ago my cousin passed away, I made a promise that I would do something great for him and on my last lift all I thought of was making him proud.
“As they announced the winners it wasn’t until they announced second place, that I realised I had won overall, not just my age class.
“Unquestionably it is my proudest achievement. The thousands of hours and hundreds of days spent in the gym working constantly paid off and I couldn’t be prouder.”
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make this website your homepage
2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex
3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!