Courageous Biggleswade man wins Arnold UK Strongest Disabled Man games - and breaks world record

'I had to keep my composure and stay very much focused on the job in hand'

Thursday, 28th October 2021, 1:25 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th October 2021, 1:28 pm

A courageous Biggleswade man is the proud winner of the first Arnold UK Strongest Disabled Man games.

Tony Butcher, 42, competed at the NEC, Birmingham on October 2 and 3 and endured a weekend of tough challenges that celebrate fitness and nutrition.

Determined Tony featured in the Chronicle recently when he was crowned champion of the Britain’s Strongest Disabled Man games in Somerset, and he now wants to inspire others with disabilities to achieve their goals.

Tony stands proudly with his trophy. He trains in Elite Physique, Sandy. Photo: Tony Butcher.

Telling the Chronicle about his tough time at the NEC, Tony said: "The first event was the mystery event that turned out to be a sled pull - 200kg at a distance of 15m.

"I can only use one hand due to my spinal injury, so when they announced it was the sled pull I was very disappointed; it turns out I came second in the first event but in my mind it wasn’t good enough.

"The second event - which I was dreading - was the dumbbell medley which involves using a wheelchair to get to each dumbbell implement. Yet again due to my spinal injury I cannot open my left hand, so using a wheelchair is very difficult indeed.

"I came away with a very close but fair win. Things now started to change in my head as now I only had to win two more events."

Arnold UK Strongest Disabled Man games. Photo: Tony Butcher.

Tony then came away with first place in the 'loading sandbag' race (which also involved using a wheelchair), meaning he had two wins under his belt with one event at second place, whereas his opponent had one win and two at second place.

The final day of the competition was on October 3 and the first challenge was a log lift. However, despite Tony finding it challenging due to partial paralysis on his left hand side, he battled through and won.

Recalling the final event, Tony added: "Now my favourite event is atlas stone. Lifting them statically with a right to left motion is much better for me, but another wheelchair had got be used.

"By this point I already knew that I had won the Arnold’s Disabled Strongman competition, but I had to keep my composure and stay very much focused on the job in hand.

Arnold UK Strongest Disabled Man games. Photo: Tony Butcher.

"In this sport it doesn’t matter how well you are doing you need to stay hungry for the win - at no point can celebrate your victory even if it is in your own head.

"So the headphones went back on, I stretched and moved, then stretched and moved some more, never cooling down, and staying warm and focused.

"A World Record was done five minutes before I was up; not only did I have to win this event but I still had to beat the World Record again only quicker. That’s what I set out to do and that is what I achieved."

Tony now hopes his successes will inspire others who have disabilities and those who have faced life changing events.

Arnold UK Strongest Disabled Man games. Photo: Tony Butcher.

The strong man suffered a broken neck when he was the victim of an assault in 2008, which means that he can move the right side of his body, but can't feel it, while he has partial paralysis on his left side.

His advice is: "Never give up!"